Veterans charity receives £10,000 boost to support
- Credit: Archant
A further 85 veterans a year living with PTSD will be able to access therapy to help alleviate trauma following a £10,000 grant to a Norwich based charity.
The Stand Easy Mission, in Bethel Street, was cofounded by Naji Malak, who provides acupuncture to veterans from around the country to help alleviate trauma.
The charity has received a £10,000 grant from Veterans Foundation, to help towards its £30,000 running costs which is spent on funding sessions for veterans.
Among those that have benefitted is Sergeant Darren Edwards, from Mundesley, who came to the charity in 2017 after experiencing post traumatic stress disorder, which at one point led him to try to take his own life.
Mr Edwards joined the army at the age of 19 and served in the Royal Artillery for 24 years, leaving the military in 2013 and began experiencing PTSD while in service.
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During his military career the father-of-three served in both Gulf wars, Kosovo, Bosnia, Pristina, Northern Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan and said one aspect that faced him was not being given the training to prepare for civilian life.
The 50-year-old, who now works for BT Open Reach, said: “The only people I could speak to were serving soldiers or ex-military.
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“I got into the room, there were no questions and 20 minutes later I felt like someone had turned the light on for me. I do not want to go back to that. Nowadays I can get on with it through Naji’s help I wouldn’t be able to do that.”
The father-of-three found after his second session of acupuncture he could go into a crowd to have coffee with Mr Naji after previously unable to go to supermarkets or attend a firework show.
He said: “We can go to firework shows that was a huge thing. My partner loves going to Great Yarmouth and we are at Mundesley and we go to the coast to Walcott for a show. At one point I just couldn’t, I think there is one type of firework that sounds like a AK47 it doesn’t make me flinch or run away.
“I still have my down days but everybody does I’m being a normal person now.”
Mr Malak has 38 years experience in treating military personnel and civilians as a result of the civil war in Lebanon.
Mr Malak said: “There are no waiting lists we see veterans usually within a week. They come and they have the acupuncture for trauma, they can talk if they want to talk about the trauma. They do not have to talk about trauma if they do not want to.
“When a veteran comes in they want to feel safe and be secure, be respected. You have to speak the language and treat them with respect. If you discuss trauma all the time they are staying in that bubble, instead you say what do you want to do, what are your aspirations.”
Chloe Smith, MP for Norwich North, said: “What the team at Stand Easy is doing is extraordinary the way they are able to help people is amazing and the offer they are making to veterans is generous. I would urge anyone in need of that help to come and speak to Naji.”