One in five of our brave armed forces will have NO ONE to celebrate Christmas with this year
Almost three quarters who are currently serving find the holiday period a tricky period of year as they are riddled with guilt about those who didn't make it back safely too.
One in four said they struggled with making Christmas with their loves ones "perfect" and seven in ten said the time to rest brought suppressed emotions back to them, fresh research from SSAFA, the armed forces charity, has shown.
Former rifleman Tom Fox, 46, who suffers from PTSD, said his precious quality time with family was "hijacked with feelings of worry or guilt for those who were not so lucky".
He added: "There was a certain pressure on me to slot back into family life during Christmas break.
"In the Army, you’re taught to be tough and be the best version of yourself. "
Julie McCarthy, Director of Volunteer Operations at SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, said: "Christmas is a unique time of year packed with visions of a ‘picture-perfect’ Christmas.
"But this can result in a great deal of pressure for families, especially those in the military."
WHERE TO GET HELP
If you, or anyone you know, needs help dealing with mental health problems, the following organisations provide support:
- CALM, www.thecalmzone.net, 0800 585 858
- Heads Together, www.headstogether.org.uk
- Mind, www.mind.org.uk, 0300 123 3393
- Papyrus, www.papyrus-uk.org, 0800 068 41 41
- Samaritans, www.samaritans.org, 116 123
The news comes after The Sun revealed that thousands of military veterans who struggle to get civilian jobs after leaving the army will get a £10million boost from the NHS.
A new crisis service will be launched to help vulnerable ex-servicemen and women battling booze, drug or mental health problems.
Mr Stevens has told The Sun on Sunday of his determination to ensure those who put their lives on the line are properly cared for when they return home.
Too many employers are reluctant to hire ex-army folk because they think they are "doolally", a defence minister warned last month.
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