Veterans Charity In Fireworks Alert

4 November 2014, 06:06 | Updated: 4 November 2014, 06:42

The sights and sounds of fireworks at this time of year can trigger unwanted memories for veterans of their time in combat, a charity has warned.

November can be a challenging month for ex-service personnel with fireworks potentially leading to flashbacks and events around Remembrance Sunday serving as a poignant reminder of their experiences, according to Combat Stress.

The mental health charity for veterans said it currently helps more than 759 people in Scotland and is calling on family and friends to be aware that this month can be a difficult period for those suffering from service-related trauma.

It said there was a 9% increase in calls to their helpline during November 2013 compared to the rest of the year.

Dr Nicola Sorfleet, manager of psychological therapies, said: "Events like bonfire night and Remembrance Sunday can be the first time when family members and loved ones realise that a veteran may be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

"With loud noises, bright flashes and imagery of war in the media, it's easy to understand how these events can trigger distressing memories.

"Around 20% of ex-service men and women who served in Iraq or Afghanistan are likely to suffer from mental ill-health. It's vitally important that at times of potential distress they have access to free, timely, effective clinical treatment and welfare support.''

Combat Stress helps veterans of every conflict that British Forces have been involved in since the Second World War. It said that on average ex-service personnel wait 13 years after discharge before seeking help.

The charity has shared advice on how veterans can manage anxiety during firework season on its website or they can contact the 24-hour helpline on 0800 138 1619.