Seriously Injured Service Personnel
Lieutenant Colonel Fred Hargreaves based at DMRC Headley Court says:
“When first faced with the reality of a disability, many individuals experience a loss of confidence, depression, and believe that their active lives have ended. The sudden, traumatic change in physical ability makes them vulnerable to psychological and emotional stress which can alienate them from their friends and family.
"If, prior to becoming wounded, you were already an adventurer or sportsman there are ways and means by which you can get off your a*** and find out about how to carry on this now you're disabled. If you're not, then it's very, very difficult to find opportunities to get yourself involved.
“The clinical needs of the individual will always come first. The responsibility for rehabilitation still lies with the medical staff at Headley Court, physios, clinicians and the like.
"You have to be at a certain level of 'pure' rehabilitation before your wound or injury is sufficient to cope with whatever rigours or stress that you're going to place on it by doing a certain activity. We recommend a year following your amputation before you go skiing, for instance, but you can go water-skiing three months after your operation – because there's a lot less impact and stress placed on your wound."
SSAFA run a support group for the Families of Injured Service Personnel.
The tri-service groups meet regularly, offering mutual support and allowing families to share experiences, information and advice.
Jane Barnes, who co-ordinates the group on behalf of SSAFA Forces Help, said:
“When a loved one is very seriouly injured it can be isolating, but talking can help. We now have a website which will not only give people all the information they need about SSAFA’s Family Support Groups it will also give them the chance to talk in confidence through a private forum that is open only to group members.
“The group work through mutual support and the online forum will mean members can log in at any time to talk to other people who have been through similar experiences.”
The Support Group also give families the opportunity to exchange information and advice about practical issues that arise.
For further information about the SSAFA Family Support Groups visit www.ssafasupportgroups.org.uk or contact Jane Barnes at SSAFA on 020 7463 9234
The Ripple Pond A self-help support group for families of injured servicemen and women. The groups meets regularly, with the main aim of providing a space to express feelings safely, in a non-judgemental environment, where everyone is heard. The group is for any family member who feels they would like support.