I Wonder After Afghanistan and the gulf?

Discussion in 'Diamond Lil's' started by Rumrat, Feb 16, 2010.

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  1. I found this whilst researching a similar subject for a project I'm involved in, and thought what "post Afghanistan, Gulf" might hold in store?

    PTSD - A soldier's tale
    Recent estimates put the number of ex-servicemen in prison at around 8,500. One of them, Jimmy Johnson, talks candidly about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, the hidden factor that helped put him there

    I served in a Royal Regiment for ten years and was involved in two conflicts: Aden in 1965 and Northern Ireland in 1972. I was discharged from the army with an exemplary record and was highly decorated for my services in Northern Ireland. I even got a mention in Dispatches!

    But in 1974 I was charged with murder, to which I pleaded guilty, and was sentenced to life imprisonment. I served a total of nine years and on release, about 18 months later, I killed another man. I pleaded guilty and was again given a life sentence, of which I have so far served 24 years.

    It was only while serving my life sentence that I discovered I was unknowingly suffering from combat-related Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) because of my action in Northern Ireland, which I had no idea about at the time of my trial.

    PTSD isn’t used as a mitigating circumstance in trials, mainly because people standing trial aren’t tested for it. Unless a lawyer puts it in front of a judge it just isn’t thought of. The authorities seem to have a very convenient ignorance-is-bliss policy towards combat-related PTSD in the prison system because, hey, if there’s no official way to diagnose it then ‘who cares’?

    My discovery led to the realisation that many other ex-soldiers in the prison population might have PTSD but have never been checked for it.

    The Government are paying around £340 million of taxpayers’ money per year to keep 8,500 former troops/veterans in the prison population without even treating them for combat-related PTSD. It’s better and cheaper [for them] to keep quiet.

    All inmates in the prison system have to complete a Prison Services’ Rehabilitation Programme which is focused on ‘Offending Behaviour’ courses, which are (supposedly) designed to lower the risk of prisoners reoffending. However, if you are a veteran unknowingly suffering combat-related PTSD you will, like me, pass through all these offending behaviour courses without knowing about PTSD and the reason why you came into prison in the first place.

    I started to campaign while in prison for PTSD to be something that should be looked at whenever veterans are on trial because I’m angry that it was completely ignored for me. It has been confirmed now that my PTSD played a part in the crimes I committed so I feel like the outcome could have been very different.

    • Jimmy Johnson was talking to Cathy Reay

    •• Veterans in Prison has published a survival guide for combat-related PTSD in prison, which can be viewed at www.vetsinprison.org.uk

    Comments, Views anyone?
  2. Lack of aftercare as usual.
    Been there myself and might still be actually as there are a number of people (scum) whom I would happily kill.
    The thing is that PTSD can affect you unexpectedly after a series of incidents.
    I came close to death a number of times and also watched as buddies died. Nothing affected me until the last situation where I once again came a bit too close to being offed. It totally changed me.
    It didn't help that the first Counsellor was useless, he actually made things worse, so I was sent to a Civvy woman who put things into perspective.
    I have never gone back to being 100 percent the old me though.
    I realised in the end that what had made the biggest difference with the last situation was that I had a Wife and baby to look after. Serious relationships were something that I had previously avoided.

    As for the prison population, I have read about that before and thought that in some instances they could have been offered the opportunity of rejoining the Forces. Dependant on the gravity of their offence of course.

    It's good that this chap is bringing it out into the wider audience.
    Good luck to him.
  3. Jesus 8,500? Knew there were a fair few ex-service people in prison but had no idea it was that high. Having no psychology knowledge I've no clue as to the effects of PTSD but have to say I'm disgusted by the attitude some people have towards it as an excuse for military people just being lairy. I'm curious if anyone knows if things were better when the military had their own hospitals?
  4. Grim, after I was stabbed and had my MCI, I too was sent for councilling with a woman shrink, and I would not have beleived it helped, until I had help.
    She told me that stress that was coped with at the time, can return as if stored, years after the event. As if a shield that was there to protect at the time is removed and all past stress can revisit. I still suffer with PTSD, but am able to cope now more than before councilling as I understand it to a certain extent.
    Still wouldn't wish it on anyone, as sometimes I have flash backs , (or at least strong recollection's ) of days spent in Bosnia/Kosova, and I was unarmed as I was a civvy by then.
  5. I dont know if its true or not but by the sound of it from the first post PTSD can effect you many years down the line, and given the amount of people that have been on ops 8500 could be pretty realistic figure. I know my old man needed a helping hand after doing NI in the 80s, lucky it was not as extreme as many other cases but still effected him.
  6. It certainly can manifest itself after many years. Over 20 in my case.
    In the early days I wasn't affected, in those days I was invincible and couldn't be beaten because we were supposed to be the best in the world.
    It was only after the last incident, at which time I had become married and we had a daughter, that it affected me.
    I can't even listen to certain pieces of music now without shedding a tear.
  7. PTSD is more common than people think and anyone in any situation can suffer it. From a normal street mugging to the worst combat situations.

    Did the last tommy suffer from PTSD in the 1990's? It can come on years after, only takes the smallest trigger :cry:
  8. Music and Pics seem to be the greatest trigger for periods of distress.

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