View Full Version : Advice for an ex serviceman with mental health problems

18th Feb 2015, 12:02
Can anyone give me advice about how to help my brother? He was in the Royal Pioneer Corp for three years in the 70's but he now has mental health problems and is displaying increasingly erratic behaviour. I have just emailed CombatStress but the problem I might have is that my brother won't acknowledge that he has a problem and dismisses every idea that the family makes to help him. Hopefully I'll be proved wrong but I don't think that CombatStress will be able to help him unless I get his permission or he contacts them. Given that can anyone on the forum suggest ways that I can help him?

I don't think that his problems are related to his army service however he is increasingly delusional and is claiming to have done a lot of things in the army which are not true.

18th Feb 2015, 12:41
He needs to admit that he has a problem.

Contact your GP in the first instance. He may be referred for counselling. Talking therapy is remarkably successful and will include CGT (Cognative Behavioural Therapy). That will give him coping strategies.
The GP may well want to start him off on medication. A delicate area because not everyone is happy with that. If you do go down the medication route it will take time and there is a certain amount of trial and error so things may get worse before they get better. Expect long waiting times, especially for counselling. Not sure if he will be fast tracked due to the Military aspect, don't bank on it!

Support and understanding is crucial and at times that will be hard.

Do not expect results quickly. Mental Health issues take time, and I am talking years not months. Be prepared for ups and horrible downs. A very close family member has been through this and, on the plus side, 4 years on is leading a perfectly normal, productive, happier life.

As said at the start though, he has to admit he has a problem otherwise everything will be twice as hard.

Could be he is suffering from (clinical) depression or could be some form of Bi-Polar disorder. All are very treatable.

Good luck. :ok:

18th Feb 2015, 13:00
Might be worth giving the Royal British Legion a call, even if they can't help I'm fairly certain they could steer you in the right direction where help would be available.

The Royal British Legion - The Royal British Legion. (http://www.britishlegion.org.uk/)

Good luck. :ok:

18th Feb 2015, 13:04
Thanks Wyler and beaufort1.

18th Feb 2015, 15:01
Also consider SSAFA


18th Feb 2015, 16:22
Glad to read that you are trying to help, Skydiver. Don't give up. When I was in an inner-city church, some 50-60% of our "back-door-ministry" was to ex-servicemen now on the street after trying to make a go of civvie life, feeling unsupported after (for the most part) refusing support when things were not too bad. "I thought I could manage" was a familiar remark.
By the time they got to us most of the lads (of assorted ages) were homeless and on drugs. The small amount of support we were able to offer was not enough, but I like to think that they felt someone cared.
Worst of all, what we were offering was for the most part too little, too late. So thoughts with you, mate, and I do hope that you get a break-through. It's just as urgent as your opening remarks imply.

victor tango
18th Feb 2015, 18:07
Hang in there mate he needs a good friend like you!

People often ask , define the word friend. How would you or others reading this ?

Anyway add this to places where help is at hand and good luck old chap .

Low mood and depression - Stress, anxiety and depression - NHS Choices (http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/pages/low-mood-and-depression.aspx)

19th Feb 2015, 10:15
Thanks SFP, Jimtherev and victor tango. I'd never heard of SSAFA and had not considered the other options so I've now got a lot more to look at along with the earlier suggestions.

19th Feb 2015, 13:56
I may be all wet here, but, best to not confront him about his delusions. Instead play along with them and gain his trust. Then build the required medication into the game in such a manner as to maintain his trust. JMO.

19th Feb 2015, 15:51
....may I point out that the organisation is not set up to deal with someone with combat stress (altough we do meet people with it in the course of our visits) and would most likely "signpost" a person to the other services already mentioned above.

The Ancient Mariner

19th Feb 2015, 22:08

It's obvious you are worried.

These sorts of things can usually be sorted out, but can take some time. Help is out there, but unfortunately mental health services in the UK are still still in the class of Cinderella.

It'd be helpful if you could speak to a professional that could sift your brother's symptoms out, and direct him to the correct services.

MOD stuff can be helpful, but they can sometime seem a little disjointed.

If you think that he's at immediate risk, then he needs immediate help.

Never underestimate the benefit of the support you are giving, probably the most important part of your brothers treatment and recovery.

I hope he make's a good recovery, an understanding GP is a good starting point.


19th Feb 2015, 23:28
Once again gentlemen thanks for the additional advice and support.

Unfortunately the situation might come to a bit of a climax at the weekend. My brother is our mother's carer but neither are coping however as a family we need to take care of Mum as a priority, and hope that by doing that we relieve some of the pressure on my brother which might give him the space to explore some of the help which is out there.