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MARK’S

STORY

For nearly two decades, Mark

Beckham battled to keep his mental

health issues under wraps. Despite

being deeply affected by the things

he had witnessed whilst serving in

Kosovo in 1999, it wasn’t until 2016

that Mark found himself at the end of

his tether, barely able to function after

spending 18 years suffering a gradual

decline in the way he felt.

Mark readily admits that fear of

stigma played a part in his decision

not to speak up about his own

suffering.

“In the military you’ve got your pride

and you don’t want to be seen as a

weak individual. That’s why a lot of

the guys don’t seek help.”

At his lowest, Mark would sit staring

at a wall, with an imaginary video tape

in his head of the things he’d seen.

He’d withdraw to the point that he

couldn’t bring himself to play with his

two young children.

A turning point came in 2016, when

Mark went to see a doctor about

pain in his joints and

problems he was having

with his memory. The

doctor recommended

a mental health

assessment and Mark

was put on long-term

leave.

With support from Help

for Heroes, Mark began

to receive dedicated

help with his mental

health issues for the

first time. Part of the

healing process was

to accept that his

military career was at an end – Mark

was medically discharged from his

post in 2018 whilst receiving ongoing

treatment. At this point, he had

already discovered a love of nature,

and was well on his way, with the aid

of a Help for Heroes grant, to setting

up his own business teaching natural

survival skills.

“I’ve always enjoyed nature, and

found it calming. I knew I couldn’t do

a busy job, around lots of people and

noise, because of the triggers that

might set off in me.”

Now, with his new business fully up

and running, Mark feels much more

positive about his future.

“If you’re struggling, speak to

somebody. I look at where I was in

2016, unable to function, to where

I am now, with my own business.

My outlook on life is much, much

brighter.”

“I don’t know where

I would be now

without the help I’ve

received – probably

six feet under.”