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David enlisted into 2 Signal Regiment, Army, in 1989 and after serving five years, he suffered serious physical injuries whilst on operational duty, which enforced him leaving the Army. Many years after discharge his mental and social condition deteriorated to such a degree that his behaviour was chaotic and erratic. David was subsequently diagnosed with PTSD.
In early 2012, after having subjected himself to an extreme extended period of alcohol abuse lasting several months, David realised he was in trouble when he was unable to stop by his own volition. David took himself to the nearest drug and alcohol treatment centre and asked them for help. Meanwhile his behaviour escalated to such an unacceptable degree that he needed to leave the family home and live in a car, which he did for a period of six months until he lost the car and found himself living in a tent in his local park.
In July of 2012 David was sent to a detox clinic in Portsmouth in an attempt to undo any and all of the damage he had caused through his drinking both to himself. During this period David was sectioned by the police to a local mental health unit after he had made clear intentions to harm himself.
In mid-September 2012, David was offered a place at Mike Jackson House, Aldershot – a specialist veterans accommodation centre for homeless veterans.
However, even after attending detox David continued to drink until mid-November when a stark wake-up call gave him the motivation to stop. David found himself admitted to hospital by the police following an incident in which he realised he was lucky to survive, and David had a very stark choice to either stop drinking and try to live or to carry on as he was, and inevitably die.
David made the choice to live and although finding it extremely difficult, he stopped drinking with a lot of support from both Mike Jackson House and other outside agencies.
David received counselling and over the course of the next three years he slowly progressed to a point whereby with such a level of superb support and encouragement from all support staff he reached a point when he was ready to move from Mike Jackson House into his own flat and to become employable again.
David says: “ I still have some social and mental health issues but with my own degrees of strength and determination coupled with the help and wonderful encouragement of some remarkably dedicated and lovely people I am certain I can only get better and better! I am now training as a support worker by way of an apprenticeship with people with learning disabilities.”
David has been supported by the team at Mike Jackson House, and byWalking With The Wounded’s Home Straight Employment Advisor since March 2015..
David commented “WWTW have assisted me on the path to where I want to be by helping me gain employment that I love by providing Mike Jackson House with in-house employment support. Mike Jackson House is a place which allowed me to become safe and get on some sort of even keel and allow me to progress back in to mainstream society.
David continued: “I feel the Home Straight programme is necessary, in order to provide assistance and encouragement to those who need it most and often don’t have the motivation or ability to act independently.”
David is currently working as an Apprentice Trainee Support Worker, Parkside (Aldershot & District Learning Disability).