Ahead of Sunday’s Remembrance Day, Party of Wales leader Leanne Wood today (Friday) visited the Healing the Wounds charity in Porthcawl to speak to veterans who suffer from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), many as a result of seeing active service in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Party of Wales has worked hard to highlight the importance of securing services to help veterans with mental health illnesses in recent years, with Rt Hon Elfyn Llwyd MP drawing attention to the plight of veterans in prison or on the streets, and campaigning for a Veterans’ Minister.
On her visit, Leanne Wood called for a Veterans’ First Point scheme in Wales, like that in Scotland, which helps veterans return to civilian life – not just assessing them for psychiatric help but also practical help with housing, finance and employment.
Leanne Wood also said that Healing the Wounds and other veterans’ charities should receive greater support from the Welsh Government and Ministry of Defence to carry out their excellent work.
“It is right that we look after the needs of members of the armed forces who have seen service and been affected by the experience,”said Ms Wood.
“That’s why I visited the excellent Healing the Wounds charity in Porthcawl in south Wales today to pay tribute to the work that they are doing in helping to look after and rehabilitate armed forces veterans as well as helping others, such as firemen and police officers who have suffered undertaking public duty.
“Veterans have specific medical requirements because of their unique experiences and therefore they require specialist support to help them deal with symptoms which can manifest such as substance use or even violent behaviour.
“There is a need for additional resources to be channelled towards veterans in Wales. Perhaps a particularly Welsh icon, such as a special Welsh poppy, could be one way to raise additional funds to make sure that Welsh veterans get the support that they deserve.
“The Party of Wales believes that Wales should have a Veterans’ First Point scheme similar to the one operated in Edinburgh, which would be a one-stop shop looking after the interests of veterans, providing a proper debrief after service, testing and providing support for PTSD and other mental illnesses suffered by veterans.
“Such a scheme would also help with other difficulties faced by veterans, such as employment, housing and financial advice, to help them re-settle back into civilian life.
“Wales has more than 250,000 veterans and the Welsh Government should provide as much support as necessary to meet their needs.”