Don’t suffer in silence, Bridge for Heroes founder Mike Taylor urges former veterans

Mike Taylor runs the Bridge for Heroes charity in King's Lynn. Picture: Ian Burt

Mike Taylor runs the Bridge for Heroes charity in King's Lynn. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Archant

A forces veteran who has battled post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has urged others with similar conditions to seek help.

Mike Taylor, from King's Lynn, who has served in the military for 18 years in Northern Ireland, Bosnia and Iraq, set up the charity Bridge for Heroes with his wife Helen Taylor.

He said he had suffered from mental health problems during and after his time in the military, and even thought of suicide.

'Everything builds up and you're backed into a really horrible corner,' he said.

But despite there being more help available for veterans and personnel suffering from mental health problems, things are 'still not perfect'.

He added: 'People hold out, everybody thinks there might be a solution just over the hill.

'People who need help can come in here for a coffee and a chat. We can get them help locally or refer them onto a program.'

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His comments after research conducted by forces charity Help for Heroes revealed 21pc of partners or family members in the East of England said their own wellbeing and mental health suffered as a result of their family member's situation.

More than 4,000 people took part in the study, with 16pc of families saying they are suffering in silence and would try to cope with issues alone. Only 5pc said they would seek help from a mental health professional.

One of the main reasons given for not speaking up is down to stigma. Around 39pc said they felt they did not have the right to seek help and almost half said they needed to be the strong one.

Mr Taylor's wife of 15 years said helping him get through his darkest moments was difficult, but added: 'It is the understanding really and being patient.

'Often people have a good family network and it is when that breaks down - that's we get involved.'

She said around 12pc of the 700 people that come to the charity for help are families, including children.

She added: 'We have come across a few in their early 20s who are used to travelling around with their parents in the forces but find it hard to adjust to civilian life.

For more information on Bridge for Heroes, visit