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Tipton army veteran wins award for bravely sharing PTSD struggles to inspire others

An army veteran from the Black Country has been named Veteran Storyteller of the Year for his dedication to raising awareness of veterans’ mental health.

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Stuart Garratt

Veterans’ mental health charity Combat Stress delivers specialist treatment and support to former servicemen and women across the UK with military-related trauma such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Aged 21, Stuart Garratt from Tipton joined the Parachute Regiment, serving for four years including a tour of Afghanistan in 2010.

On his return, he noticed something wasn’t right, but refused to accept he had a mental health problem.

For years he suffered from anger, frustration and anxiety and saw relationships around him fall apart.

He struggled to hold down civilian jobs – going through 10 jobs in just two years.

Stuart Garratt

Finally, in 2021 he was diagnosed with PTSD and made the call to Combat Stress, which changed his life.

Since being treated by the charity, Stuart has bravely and openly shared his story in the hope of encouraging other veterans struggling to make that difficult but vital first step to recovery, by reaching out for help.

He has allowed his story to feature across numerous campaigns and media, including being the face of a hard-hitting fundraising appeal which raised over £35,000 for Combat Stress.

And in April last year Stuart also ran the London Marathon for the charity.

He said: “I am just so glad I could give back in some way to a charity that has helped me so much.

"Thank you to Combat Stress for all the help given to myself and other veterans."

Robert Marsh, director of fundraising at Combat Stress, said: “We are so grateful to Stuart, whose bravery and honesty has really helped shine a spotlight on the life-changing difference we make.

"His support has been invaluable, and we are delighted to present him with our Veteran Storyteller of the Year award.

“No other charity does what we do. We provide the most comprehensive veteran mental health treatment service in the UK, and we are so grateful for all that our fundraisers and storytellers have done for us and the veterans who seek our help.”

On February 22, more than 120 fundraisers and veteran volunteers attended Combat Stress’ annual ‘Extra Mile’ awards at the Cavalry and Guards Club, in London.

Hosted, for the first time, by the charity’s president Sir General Peter Wall the event was devised to celebrate and recognise the incredible selflessness and dedication of individuals, teams and companies’ whose achievements and innovative fundraising have gone above and beyond all expectation.