It’s no secret that some veterans struggle to adapt to life back on civvy street after leaving the armed forces.
But as soldier-turned-filmaker Aaron Sayers has discovered, a major part of the problem is perception.
Not only do these men and women, who have bravely served their country, have to find their way as civilians, it’s also a question of how they are perceived by the rest of us.
And sadly, the image many people have is rather negative – as Aaron says, there is ‘a common misconception that veterans are in some way damaged either mentally or physically.’
In recent years charities like Help For Heroes have done a fantastic job of highlighting the plight of those injured in the line of duty.
Of course helping soldiers, sailors and airmen and women overcome injuries is vital.
However many, fortunately, do not come out of service ‘damaged.’
That does not mean, though, that they will not need help.
We do need to make sure there is the help there for veterans to adjust to ‘normality.’
There is the issue of transferable skills.
Their expectations might need to be managed, and they may need aid with adapting what they have learned in service to other ends.
Many come out of the armed forces at a relatively young age, and may have decades left in their working lives.
There is no reason why they cannot, and should not be productive members of society.
Yes, it might be tough, but it should not be impossible to make that adjustment.
The voices of these veterans should not be lost – we need to make sure we hear their stories – and Aaron’s film, Chosen Men can help make that happen.
Here’s hoping that those with the means to help will be listening.