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Nick Martin understands the lasting

impact of a mental health issue left

untreated. For more than 30 years, the

former Royal Navy stores accountant

struggled to cope after sustaining

injuries on the Atlantic Conveyor ship,

which was hit by two missiles during

the Falklands War. Nick was rescued

by a colleague who never made

it home.

Whilst his physical wounds, which

included a fractured skull, would

heal in time, the damage done to his

mental health lasts to this day.

Nick left the Navy four years later.

When he returned to civilian life, he

struggled to adapt.

“I started to feel guilty about those

that hadn’t returned from the

Falklands and started punishing

myself. I’d go for a run until my

trainers squelched with blood. I took

dead end jobs because I didn’t want

to have to handle responsibility for

anything, not even my own life.”

Unbeknown to Nick, he was suffering

with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

(PTSD). The following years passed by

in a blur.

Then, five years ago, he suffered a

heart attack. The realisation that he’d

come close to losing his life jolted

Nick into taking action. He spoke to

a counsellor, his diagnosis was made

and his recovery journey began.

“Talking to that counsellor was

difficult. There’s a notion that those

who have served must be pretty tough,

but we’re not, we’re just trained.”

As part of his treatment plan, Nick

was referred to Help for

Heroes and invited to join the

Band of Brothers Fellowship.

Immediately, he felt the

benefits of being around other

Veterans who had suffered

injury or illness.

Having avoided socialising for

many years, Nick initially found

being around others daunting.

But with support, he became a

member of the Invictus Games

Choir and took up sports and art

classes. Steadily, his confidence grew.

Now that Nick is receiving ongoing

support to manage his PTSD, life is

looking much more positive.

“PTSD is a nasty condition that eats

away at you without you knowing it. It

took me 34 years to even know that’s

what I had and see that it was ruining

my life. My recovery isn’t complete,

there are still things I need and have

to do but I’m in the right place now to

get on and do them.”

“The change to my life

has been phenomenal.”