‘It’s Not Weak To Ask For Help’

Colin Rudkin, former Royal Green Jackets soldier, told us how severe PTSD affected him including graphic flashbacks to Northern Ireland...

Colin Rudkin, a former Royal Green Jackets soldier, told us how severe post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) affected him including graphic flashbacks to Northern Ireland, paranoia, anger and depression.

It wasn't until one particular event many years after leaving the British Army when Colin realised he may have PTSD.

He was sipping his coffee while standing on the busy platform at King's Cross station when he became acutely aware of the tense atmosphere around him; passengers were becoming impatient with the train delays.

He suddenly found himself in the middle of a flashback. It felt as if he was going to be attacked by commuters and so huddled in a corner, crying, as people walked passed.

When the announcement came that his train was departing, he ran through the barriers and found a quiet spot in a carriage where he sat for the duration of the journey home.

Listen to Colin's story here.

It wasn’t until an assessment by the charity, Combat Stress, that Colin was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Colin tells us about the support and treatment he’s received from them.

“There are so many veterans’ charities you wouldn’t know who to choose (for help) but having somewhere like Veterans’ Gateway, they sort of got everyone under their umbrella.”

Veterans’ Gateway is the first point of contact for veterans, their families and carers who are in need of support.

The new £2 million service is funded from the Covenant Fund allocated by the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and will be delivered by a consortium comprising The Royal British Legion, Poppyscotland, Combat Stress, Connect Assist, the Ministry of Defence and SSAFA, the Armed Forces Charity.

It represents a pathway to a full list of services from housing and recovery to mental health services, financial and employment advice. It aims to reduce the confusion for veterans seeking support within the military charity sector and will ensure it can signpost to the right service for any need a veteran may present with.

Chris Thomas - Veterans’ Gateway Helpline Adviser
Chris Thomas is a veteran and helpline adviser at Veterans' Gateway.

Chris joined the Royal Air Force in 1985 and served almost 10 years before being medically discharged with post-traumatic stress disorder. This was a result of being involved in the Gulf War during 1990 and 1991.

Chris had treatment from the RAF Medical Team for his PTSD. However, it did take him a lot of time to be able to settle back into civilian life.

“I have been in the same position as the majority of people who are calling us here at Veterans Gateway, so I can call on my personal experiences to be able to point them in the right direction for the best help.

"There are so many charities out there it does help when your directed to the best one for your issue.”

For more information on Veterans’ Gateway, or if you need support, visit

Alternatively, you can call 0808 802 1212 or text 81212

Cover Photo: Lukas Rychvalsky / Pexels