Today is Time to Talk Day – dedicated to getting the nation talking openly about mental health problems and putting an end to the misconceptions that can prevent people seeking help. In the hope that his story will help others, war veteran Neil Davies has chosen to share his experience of coming to terms with the mental illness that gripped him for so many years:
I was brought up in a rural area of Wales dominated by steel and coal.
The local village school was a small building on a windswept hill run by an alcoholic head teacher who was also a serial child abuser. No one listened to my complaints about his abusive activities, although years later he was eventually removed.
Consequently, I left school an educational failure at the age of 14 for a life as a non-skilled worker.
But like many young people to this day, the military offered an opportunity, a second chance to make something of yourself. On my 17th birthday I joined the Parachute Regiment and by the time of my 19th birthday I was fighting in a combat zone.
Read Neil’s blog in full on our mental health section.