The Raceday itself is being held on Sunday 26 October 2014. However, the Raceday committee is organising a series of fundraising events, not only on the Raceday itself, but also in the preceding months. The planned events prior to the day include a Sponsored Wincanton Racecourse Canter in the close season and a Grand Prix Dressage Master Class given by one of the world’s leading Dressage trainers. However, the centrepiece is a “Selfie Salute to Combat Stress” handheld mobile device event.
Combat Stress provides mental health and wellbeing care today, for veterans of all the conflicts that British forces have been engaged in since 1939. Although combat related Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is the most extreme of the conditions that veterans can suffer, and which Combat Stress seeks to treat, there are many lesser manifestations that affect not only the individual but also their families, friends and colleagues. These can range from flashbacks, through to bouts of extreme anger and domestic abuse or violence, alcohol or substance abuse and suicidal tendency. In many case the problems do not begin until many years after leaving the Services, 12-14 years is fairly typical, although more than 500 individuals with recent service in Afghanistan, and more than 800 who served in Iraq, are on the Charity’s register. While the majority of veterans known to the Charity are from the more junior ranks, mental illness brought about by the exigencies of military service is no discriminator of rank, background, upbringing or education.
Combat Stress is providing clinical treatment and community and social support today to more than 5400 veterans, a greater number than at any time in the Charity’s history. More than 1700 veterans have made contact with the Charity seeking help in the last year, and its 24 hour helpline has offered advice, support and help to thousands more. The seventeen Community and Outreach Teams working with veterans in their own homes and communities are proving a huge success, while the newly established intensive PTSD Programme commissioned by the NHS is available at the Charity’s three residential treatment centres. Early evidence suggests that it is the leading treatment programme of its type in the world. In sum, the Charity deals with what might be called ‘the enemy within’, working with partner organisations for the benefit of each veteran to give them the opportunity to live a fulfilling life.
The committee is dedicated to raising as much money as possible to support Combat Stress, particularly as so many of our outstanding and brave young women who have served in Iraq, Afghanistan and other operational theatres in recent years may go on to experience mental health related issues related to their service several years’ time, long after they have left the Services.