A Chorleywood veteran who suffered a life-changing injury whilst on tour is encouraging more people to take part in a charity’s online suicide awareness training scheme.
Barrie Griffin, aged 60, was formerly an RAF Regiment Officer. This career was sadly cut short when in 2003, whilst carrying heavy gear on a loaded march, he suffered a spinal prolapse, compressing his spinal cord and leaving him with a permanent injury.
Now, 18 years later, he’s advocating a new scheme from veterans charity Help for Heroes that he believes could have helped him in his darkest moments following the injury.
“It’s about recognising the signs, particularly for families, because very few of us come across somebody threatening to throw themselves off a bridge – that’s not how it is.
“It’s the people closest to you, what they’re saying and not saying, and changes in their behaviour. And that’s why the training for families and loved ones is so important.
“I see the training as being about awareness and confidence for people to have these conversations, knowing that there’s no right and wrong; it’s about not judging; just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it isn’t true.”
Developed jointly with the Zero Suicide Alliance, Help for Heroes has only recently launched the 30-minute-long training course, which teaches anyone who takes it how to spot the signs of suicidal thoughts and assess what someone is really saying.
New research from the charity and YouGov found that one in three military veterans have felt suicidal at some point in their lifetime, and that more than half of Britons feel they wouldn’t know what to do to help someone struggling with suicidal thoughts.
Help for Heroes is thus working to bridge the shortfall in knowledge through schemes like this training, in the hopes that more people will be aware of what to do in those situations and help those struggling to get the right help.
To take the training yourself, follow this link.