“I dread to think what would have happened if I had not found Speke House, I would probably be dead as I wasn’t able to access mental health support and housing is in high demand.”
Arlo, 43 served for five years with the Irish Guards and completed a 7-month tour of Kosovo. He decided to leave the Army as he felt he had served his time and didn’t want to continue.
After leaving, he found the transition [to civilian life] relatively smooth and secured employment, on and off, in a number of roles including security work in shops and on the doors, working as a taxi driver and working in gyms.
He also secured a role working as a manager for a car rental firm but found it difficult to sustain and work the long unsocial hours so decided to pack up and head to Greece to work in the bars in 2013. After returning to the UK, he enrolled in college to gain his GCSEs and completed an access course and degree in forensic science.
After returning from Kosovo, he asked the Army for support with his mental health but didn’t receive the support he thought he needed. He said, “At that time, you were just expected to get on with things. I visited my GP for mental health support in 2007 and I was told it would take several years to be able to talk to anyone.”
He suffered from multiple injuries whilst serving in Kosovo and was diagnosed with service-related PTSD. His service took a toll on his physical health and he regularly suffers with pain and discomfort in his knees, back, shoulders and hips. He manages this pain with medication, physio and regular chiropractor appointments.
Prior to moving into Speke House in October 2021, he was living between his mums house and a tent and applied for housing with the local council but didn’t receive any help. He said: “I was living in a tent and my PTSD was out of control which also put pressure on my relationship with my mum, so I went to Veterans HQ and they told me about Speke House.”
Since moving in, he has really thrived and engages in his weekly therapy sessions, his confidence has grown and he has a stronger relationship with his mum. He also attends the organised breakfast mornings one or two times a week.
Kate Riley, Specialised Case Worker at Launchpad’s Speke House, said: “Arlo is a very polite resident and goes out of his way to make conversation with staff and other residents. He has been engaging in his weekly therapy sessions and his confidence has grown. He talks about the future and said one day, he would like to be well enough to secure employment and become financially independent.”
Arlo said: “Since I moved into Speke House, more things have been introduced for the residents and it gets us out of our rooms. I’ve been lucky to receive weekly therapy while I’m waiting for my next round of trauma therapy from combat stress. The support I’ve received from staff and Launchpad has helped me a lot and has shown there is some good in the world. I’ve taken on additional support from other agencies too and I’m utilising Launchpad for what it is intended for – to support veterans to move on to live independently.
“I still have a long way to go but I’m willing to keep trying and hopefully, I’ll be able to leave all the past behind me.”