Former serviceman launches helpline to aid ex-troops in PTSD battle

Former bomb disposal engineer Tim Evers has set up a new helpline. Picture by Jonathan Gawthorpe.

Former bomb disposal engineer Tim Evers has set up a new helpline. Picture by Jonathan Gawthorpe.

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A former bomb disposal engineer, determined to ensure ex-servicemen and women with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) do not feel alone, has set up his own helpline.

Gomersal resident and firefighter Tim Evers, who served in war-torn Bosnia during his career with the Royal Engineers, hopes his Sapper Support free helpline, staffed solely by volunteer ex-servicemen, will prevent comrades slipping into isolation when it launches on Monday.

The 46-year-old set up the helpline to offer a friendly voice in the face of loneliness and depression, in the hope that people in tune with ‘army lingo’ can help support those with PTSD symptoms or direct them to healthcare services.

The father-of-two was inspired to start the free 24/7 line after he attended the annual Remembrance Day service at the Cenotaph, in London, this year to find that a comrade troubled by the anxiety disorder had committed suicide.

“He had fallen through the gap and had noone to talk to,” said Mr Evers. “We are veterans that can speak the lingo, we are not doctors or health professionals. We might not have the answers but we can have a chat with you and talk and alleviate some of the stresses so you don’t feel isolated.”

Mr Evers, the Royal Engineers Association Bomb Disposal’s fundraising coordinator, hopes to register Sapper Support as a charity. Professional helpline counselling services are currently offered by mental health charity Combat Stress.

For more on 0800 0407873 visit www.sappersupport.com.

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