A British Army mental health nurse is providing critical mental health assistance to those affected by the recent earthquake in Turkey.
Captain Richard, who works at the Department for Community Mental Health at Colchester's Merville Barracks, has deployed with 16 Medical Regiment to Turkoglu, which is located near the epicentre of the earthquake.
The mental health nurse is treating medics and locals who are struggling with emotional distress because of their experiences during and since the devastating earthquake hit.
"People here have lost everything – the house that they lived in is rubble, family members and friends may have been killed or seriously injured, and the infrastructure of everyday life is gone," Capt Richard said.
"People have feelings of loss, grief, and fear that there might be further earthquakes, which causes stress and anxiety," he added.
Capt Richard works through an interpreter and is tied in with the local mental health service so that when his deployment ends the people he helped will continue to receive support if they need it.
Back in Colchester, Capt Richard provides mental health services to all three services.
In Turkey, part of his role is to support soldiers to ensure they are in the right place to do their job.
"For the troops who've deployed to Turkey it's been high tempo and very busy, so there's the potential for stress and burnout," Capt Richard said.
"There's also the risk of secondary trauma when you're dealing with casualties and hearing the horrible experiences that people have had, and you can start to take on those thoughts, feelings, and fears," he added.
Supported by the RAF's Tactical Medical Wing, 16 Medical Regiment has established a medical facility in Turkoglu, staffed by more than 70 medical clinicians working alongside Turkish and emergency medical teams.
The RAF has also delivered humanitarian aid, including tents and thermal blankets, while a Critical Care Air Support Team has deployed a C130 Hercules to move critically ill patients by air.
Troops returning from overseas operations receive a package of Post Operational Stress Management (POSM) to provide support as they return to normal duties.