Mental Health

Soldier-Turned-Author Speaks Up About Mental Health

Brian Wood spoke to military personnel in Cyprus about the importance of mental health.

The decorated soldier-turned-author Brian Wood was in Cyprus to speak with troops about the importance of mental health.

His book 'Double Crossed' has reached number three in The Sunday Times best-seller list and he said there may be plans to take his story to the big screen.

Brian Wood was invited to Episkopi to talk about his own battle with mental health problems and his journey from war to courtroom conflict and now to successful author.

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Military personnel attended Brian Wood's talk in Cyprus.

Troops deployed on the island had the opportunity to discuss a difficult subject with someone they consider one of their own, as Mr Wood served for 17 years with the 1st Battalion Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment.

"I was uneducated on [mental health], and everyone else in that era was uneducated on it," said Mr Wood.

"It is good to see that people are taking it seriously."

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Brian Wood spoke to troops in Cyprus about his struggle with mental health and PTSD.

In 2004, his Warrior vehicle was ambushed by insurgents in Iraq.

What followed became known as the 'Battle of Danny Boy'.

Mr Wood charged the enemy across open ground and his bravery earned him the Military Cross.

However, the trauma of combat led him to suffer from mental health issues, marriage breakdown and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Seeking help is what changed his life, he said.

"You don't feel scared and have anxiety about reaching out.

"The more we talk about all these different signposts, the more comfortable it is to talk about [mental health]," he added.

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Other than PTSD and mental illness, Brian Wood was also involved in the Al Sweady Inquiry.

In 2014, Brian Wood was among a group of British soldiers accused of mistreating captives in Iraq, which lead to the £30 million al-Sweady Inquiry.

Eventually, the soldiers were exonerated and the lawyer behind the false claims, Phil Shiner, was struck off.

In 2015, Mr Wood left the Army and in 2017 he decided to write a book about his experiences.

The result, he said, surpassed all his expectations.