A military mental health organisation whose mission is to save and change the lives of serving personnel, veterans and their families who are negatively affected by their time in the armed forces is being given a helping hand by the law firm, Irwin Mitchell.
For two days each month, Irwin Mitchell let community interest company ‘Rock2Recovery’ use their office in Manchester to facilitate their clinic days so they can use the money they have to fund the crucial treatments rather than renting space.
The law firm does this due to the large numbers of military veterans they already help who suffer from PTSD or other mental health conditions but are unable to access treatment elsewhere.
To encourage people to come forward and ask for help, Irwin Mitchell asked Rock2Recovery’s co-founder to tell his story.
Former Royal Marine Jamie Sanderson co-founded Rock2Recovery after being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. He served in 45 Commando as a sniper and was deployed to Afghanistan twice. He said:
"There I was in Afghanistan, for the second time, a rough and tough Yorkshire man in the Royal Marines and I was finding it hard. I was a sergeant, a leader, a sniper and one of the people others looked up to as an example of how to behave in difficult conditions.
“This wasn’t just the strain from being in a combat zone where every day could be your last, I was starting to suffer mentally and didn’t feel like myself anymore. At first, I tried to hide it but eventually, I was diagnosed with PTSD and sent to Plymouth, where wounded Royal Marines go for rehabilitation.”
“I was put on a course of Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprogramming, which does a lot of good to many but not me. I spent a week getting over the experience as it made me feel worse and then a week worrying about my next appointment. When I told my therapist this, she responded by shutting her book and saying that there was nothing more she could do.
“My abandonment felt complete and very shortly afterwards my wife had to stop me from taking my own life.”
One day, on a course, Jamie met former Special Forces soldier, now SAS Who Dares Wins Directing Staff Jason ‘Foxy’ Fox, and they hit it off. They noticed an improvement in their mental health after spending time together outside walking or rowing.
Together, they concluded that even though clinical treatments do help those suffering from combat stress and PTSD, half are left needing a different approach. They decided to be the go-to place for those veterans. He said:
"With the help of a life coach and together with my close friend Jason Fox, from SAS: Who Dares Wins fame, we started using non-clinical techniques to retrain the brain into accepting the past and concentrating on how to refocus on the future.”
Jamie and Jason soon realised that specialist ‘change management coaching’, combined with creative, sporting or therapeutic activities, can motivate people to move forward in their lives. This idea inspired the friends to co-found Rock2Recovery. The organisation offers one-to-one coaching to help clients refocus and find the activity or ‘rock’ that will help them on the road to recovery. He said:
“Our approach is to inspire, coach and motivate clients towards a more positive future. We find that this works for many and, in particular, for those that have tried the established therapies.”
There are two key parts to the work Rock2Recovery do. The first phase is that clients reach out for help and they provide one-to-one coaching that is specific to their requirements. The second phase puts the onus on the clients helping themselves. This is the rock in their lives that will motivate, inspire and encourage them to positively re-focus. He said:
“So far, we have helped over 350 individuals but we have no magic wand, just a caring team and some outstanding coaches who strive to help people emerge from their shadows.”
If you want to know more visit rock2recovery.co.uk
As a legal organisation, Irwin Mitchell offers all their services to the Armed Forces Community including AFCS assistance, Injury Claims, inquests, wills, trusts, conveyancing and family and immigration matters. They have specialist teams in all areas well versed with the armed forces who can assist with any legal matter.
Picture Credit: Old Soldier Media