Veterans in Crisis
Ger served in the Light Infantry and as a result of a tour of Northern Ireland in the late 1980s, experienced post-traumatic-stress-disorder. Following several years of counselling, combined with the love, care and support of his family, Ger recovered. That experience has left him with a deep understanding of the needs of veterans, particularly those who have been badly affected by their own experiences. He is passionate in his desire to help them.
As a volunteer with a North East charity in 2013, Ger saw for himself that there were no services for veterans with multiple and complex needs. His desire to change this, led him to begin working with a veteran who had a range of significant needs and, like so many others, needed help immediately.
Ger saw that accessing so much of the help available often involved lengthy procedures. Ger’s focus on the person not the process meant that in a short time he managed to find for the veteran housing and furniture, counselling support and help with welfare benefit.
Put simply, Ger put in place the things that had helped him with his own recovery and that he knew, from that experience, would help his fellow veteran. This inspired Ger to launch Veterans in Crisis, a Sunderland-based community interest company that takes a whole-system approach to supporting former Servicemen and women. This involves championing the needs of this group in health and social care, employment and training.
Unlike many agencies, Veterans in Crisis never ‘signs-off’ on a client. The organisation has an ever-open door policy toward those it works with and many that have been helped end up supporting others
Ger says: “Veterans in Crisis is a team; we all pull together to help a comrade in need. In the Armed Forces, camaraderie and teamwork are drilled into you. Sadly, so many people come out of the Forces and that gets left behind with their kit. The support while you’re serving is good but once you’re out, you can be on your own. I found myself in that situation and I just don’t want anyone else to be in that place, if I can do something about it.”