by John Murray
A veteran’s charity has said a recent Scottish Government report ‘will help break up the myths’ surrounding the problems military personnel face when they leave active service.
The Taking the Strategy Forward findings, released yesterday, follow consultations with a range of veteran’s charities, health boards, local authorities and housing associations.
It is hoped ‘the new joined up approach’ will help make it easier for soldiers, sailors and airmen to enter or re-join civilian life.
Veterans Scotland is one of 80 UK based umbrella charities offering ‘information, advice and guidance’ to ex-military.
Spokesperson David Cowan welcomed the findings.
“Lots of people have mental health issues and it’s not widely reported. It’s only a small number of veterans leaving active service who have problems.
“In the past red top newspapers have blown severe mental health cases out of proportion.”
David wants to see a more positive approach to helping the situation.
“The main message we want to get across is there is a lot of high-quality people leaving service who would be an asset to the work place or local communities.
“They have received high quality training in the army or at sea and these skills should be put to use when they become civilians.
“Take logistics for example, it may be a parcel company can’t deliver a package and the driver will think we’ll just get it done tomorrow. “However, logistics staff in the armed forces are highly trained to make sure everything is spot-on first-time round.
“They are people used to following orders – they will always turn up and work hard.”
While David maintained veterans have ‘a lot to offer’ he says an area they may need help is in channelling their experience and alerting the right employer.
“In the military you are told your next job and you move on but many need help finding work and with things like writing a CV.”
David,50, spent 26 years in the army and knows only too well the battle soldiers face when they rejoin civilian life.
“It’s a difficult transition process and in the past helping to find the right information to help was hard.
“I got a job in fibre optic telecoms but I moved over to working with Veterans Scotland because I wanted to put something back.”
Anyone wishing to find out more about Taking the Strategy Forward can visit https://www.gov.scot/publications/strategy-veterans-taking-strategy-forward-scotland to find out more.