Dorset

Navy veteran's wife calls for family PTSD help

Anita Roberts
Image caption Anita Roberts says she "adores" her husband and writes poetry to help her cope

The wife of a Falklands War veteran says more help is needed for families of people who develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Anita Roberts' husband, David, was on HMS Sheffield when it was hit by a missile 35 years ago.

The couple separated four years ago after deciding the only way to save their marriage was to live apart.

Mrs Roberts, who lives in Poundbury, Dorset, says while veterans receive help, families are often forgotten.

Twenty-one men died and 24 were wounded in the missile attack on 4 May 1982.

Mrs Roberts said years passed before her husband's PTSD surfaced, but in 1987 he had to be landed ashore from a ship because he "stopped functioning".

He spent a year in hospital and was then medically discharged, after serving 30 years in the navy.

Image copyright PA
Image caption HMS Sheffield sank six days after being hit by an Exocet missile on 4 May 1982

Mrs Roberts said: "Sometimes it was very volatile and there was a lot of verbal abuse because he would get very angry, very quickly and there was a lot of alcohol abuse in as much as it was used to self medicate."

Mrs Roberts said she recently discovered a charity, The Ripple Pond, which helps families of injured service personnel.

She said: "If only there were more Ripple Ponds or outreaches, or even coffee mornings where people could get together and just talk - because talking therapy is one of the most powerful therapies."

Charity co-founder Julia Maloney said: "There's no doubt that those living with someone who is physically or emotionally traumatised will also be impacted.

"We help our members to take back some control of their otherwise chaotic lives and take away that sense of isolation by providing a space to talk freely and candidly about their feelings."

The charity, which holds meetings across England, plans to start a new group in Poole in the summer.

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