FOUR year delay in mental health help for veterans

21 January 2019, 10:44 | Updated: 21 January 2019, 11:31

Help for Heroes has started its 'Cut the Clock' campaign which aims to end the stigma around mental health issues.

They want to encourage more people to come forward for help and cut the time they struggle in silence. 

Former Royal Navy sailor and full-time Territorial Army reservist Paul Stocker, from Plymouth, finally received help four years ago, more than twenty years after suffering trauma in the first Gulf War. 

As well as having PTSD from his time in the first Gulf War, he was physically injured during a training exercise when he fell awkwardly out of a helicopter, eventually losing most of his right arm. 

Medically discharged from the Armed Forces and unable to find work because of his disability, he self-medicated, turning to alcohol to escape his mental health issues. 

He regularly drank a crate of cider and bottle of gin a day.

He says he had issues with anger management and while he wasn’t physically violent, he regularly smashed mirrors, not recognising the man he saw reflected in them: 

Finally, after more than twenty years of suffering in silence, Paul reached out for help: 

"My youngest daughter turned around and said to me, dad you're killing yourself. 

"That was what pushed me - the fact my daughter was concerned about my drinking, about my anger.

"To admit you have got a mental health problem it is hard. 

"But obviously the message has to go out. 

If you’d seen me four years ago, a big fat blob that wouldn’t do anything – with a beer, you'd never thought of me running around a gym and coaching wheelchair rugby, doing my archery." 

Since getting help from Help for Heroes and Combat Stress, Paul has turned his life around. 

As well as coaching wheelchair rugby, he has taken up rock climbing and is hoping to compete in archery in the next 

Paralympic Games in Tokyo in 2020. 

He's currently filming for a role in a major TV soap due to be screened later in the summer. 

With every pound donated, every retweet, like or share on social media the public can help lessen the stigma and actively cut the time veterans are taking to seek help for psychological wounds. 

Help end mental health stigma at