Portsmouth army veteran highlights issue of mental health on Armed Forces Day

AS THE nation today (June 27) pays tribute to our military servicemen and women as part of Armed Forces Day, a city veteran has been highlighting the ‘very real’ mental health challenges faced by past and present forces personnel.

Saturday, 27th June 2020, 2:50 pm
Updated Saturday, 27th June 2020, 2:51 pm

Matt Boyle, a veterans well being adviser for the PositiveMinds service in Portsmouth, has shared his lived experience of a life of service in the army and the mental health challenges it can bring.

Matt, who served for 24 years, first experienced the impact of mental health problems through his father, who had also served in the Armed Forces.

‘The actions and attitudes of my father and subsequent split from my mother would have been treated very differently today. In a way veterans mental health has shaped my life.

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Matt Boyle, a veterans well being adviser for the PositiveMinds service in Portsmouth.

‘I have always had an awareness that I never want to end up like my father. Accessing my own mental health support was the only way to break the cycle,’ said Matt.

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Matt wanted to stress the challenges of dealing with some of the sights and situations experienced during active service and the role of PositiveMinds in providing support to those in need.

‘How can you just turn off when you come home?’ questioned Matt

‘It's not easy and many veterans need support to see their way through their experience and come out the other side into some sense of normality. I can’t change the things people have seen or experienced, but I can help them make positive memories and enable them to beat negative thoughts.

‘We have a number of veterans at PositiveMinds and we are here to support veterans and their families. I hope that this Armed Forces Day will help people who need mental health and other vital support to step forward and contact us. We can help.’

The charity provides an emotional and mental health support service based in Portsmouth for veterans and residents in the city.

David Noyes, chief operating officer for Solent NHS Trust and himself a Royal Navy veteran, commented: ‘Matt, like many others in the veteran community, have lived with the service family, which shapes our lives. These are ordinary people doing extraordinary things.

‘Within Solent we have a very active and rewarding veteran’s network and we are proud to support PositiveMinds in delivering mental health services.’

Cllr Matthew Winnington, Portsmouth City Council's cabinet member for health, well being and social care, said: ‘It's so important that we show support to our city's armed forces and veterans communities. I'd encourage anyone from those communities who are struggling to reach out to the team at PositiveMinds - they're there to help you access the support you need and deserve.’

More information can be found on the PostiveMinds website.

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