<div style="display:inline;"> <img height="1" width="1" style="border-style:none;" alt="" src="//googleads.g.doubleclick.net/pagead/viewthroughconversion/1028731116/?value=0&amp;guid=ON&amp;script=0">
6 ISSUES FOR £6 Subscribe to Devon Life today click here

Stress test: Rock 2 Recovery

PUBLISHED: 14:53 13 February 2017 | UPDATED: 14:53 13 February 2017

'When things are bad, its like chemicals, a blackness, flooding into your brain, filling it with negativity, which you can easily get sucked into'

'When things are bad, its like chemicals, a blackness, flooding into your brain, filling it with negativity, which you can easily get sucked into'

Matt Austin

An ever expanding number of veterans suffering with Post Traumatic Stress are turning to an Exmouth-based Community Interest Company for support. Fran Mcelhone catches up with one of its founders, former Royal Marines sniper, Jamie Sanderson

The first thing Jamie does when I walk into his base is ask how I’m doing. This watching out for others attitude, despite enduring his own battle with Post Traumatic Stress (PTS), has undoubtedly had a direct impact on the mounting number of veterans’ lives his charity has saved, not just within Devon’s borders, but countrywide.

In 2013 the former commando, who spent 18 years as a sniper with deployments to Northern Ireland, Kosovo and Afghanistan, founded Rock 2 Recovery with friend, Jason ‘Foxy’ Fox, from Plymouth, a former member of the Special Boat Service and star of Channel 4’s SAS: Who Dares Wins, and former Royal Marines officer Robin Hollington.

The not-for-profit organisation provides timely and bespoke support to veterans and serving armed forces personnel suffering with PTS.

“Life does this,” Jamie says, gesticulating with his arm to mimic a rollercoaster. “But, you can smooth it out so it’s like this,” he adds, gesticulating again, making his arm more wave like. “We tell our guys it’s about finding your rock, whether it’s musical, creative, or adventurous, and then grabbing onto it so it can help you heal.”

Over the last six months, coinciding with the organisation’s establishment of a drop-in centre in Exmouth, an average of one veteran a day has been getting in touch with Jamie, whose network of therapists stretches from the West Country and the Channel Islands to London and Scotland.

The 41-year-old father-of-two, whose own PTS was brought on by a particularly kinetic and intense bout of action during his second tour of Afghanistan in 2006 and nearly drove him to suicide, says the recent increase in referrals is a combination of increased awareness about the charity, but is also a continuation of the fallout from Iraq and Afghanistan.

But finally, he says, there is a willingness for a conversation about “brain injuries”: the Rock2Recovery team has played a massive part in the de-stigmatisation of mental illness, empowering both veterans and their family members to come forward for help.

“We’re smashing the stigma, and we’ve got to keep doing that,” Jamie says. “We had a lot more calls when Foxy admitted on primetime TV that he was battling with PTS.

Jamie explains that the coaching the company delivers is about “separating the emotions from the memories of the past”.

“When things are bad, it’s like chemicals, a blackness, flooding into your brain, filling it with negativity, which you can easily get sucked into. The desire to recover from mental illness and brain injuries must be greater than the desire to remain in the darkness. You stimulate that vision on your new journey with your rock.

“For me, one of the best rocks has been helping people.”

More details at rock2recovery.com

Rock 2 Recovery: THE Facts

Work involves signposting veterans and servicemen for help, either using their own resources, or other health professionals, as well as inspiring a self-healing process through personal creativity.

The company offers bespoke support and has a nationwide support network.

Its action plan is denoted by the acronym, STAR: stop, talk, act, refocus.

Since 2016, the organisation receives funding from the Royal Marines Charity and the Royal British Legion.

The Old Soldier, is an ongoing, incredibly compelling photo diary project being played out on the Rock 2 Recovery Facebook and Twitter pages which is having a profound effect on raising awareness of their work.

Plymouth MP Jonny Mercer is a patron.

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Devon Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Devon Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Devon Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from People

Tue, 12:54

A yacht of great beauty, a 60ft wooden vessel hand-built with utter dedication in East Devon, is preparing to make her maiden voyage. Mike Ludgrove has devoted 12 years of his life and all his money to create Helena, the yacht of his dreams. Words: Sharon Goble Photos: Matt Austin

Read more
Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Devon’s iconic Burgh Island, famed for its art deco hotel and links to Agatha Christie, is being sold by owners Deborah Clark and Tony Orchard after almost 17 years.

Read more
Tuesday, April 10, 2018

The Midsomer Murders and Bergerac star tells Devon Life about his favourite Devon people and places

Read more
Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Walking 350 miles around the boundary of Devon was David Beanland’s way of marking his 80th birthday

Read more
Tuesday, April 10, 2018

The word hero is bandied around too often these days, but in the case of veteran Royal Marine Eric Greenleaf it might just be apt, as CHRISSY HARRIS discovers

Read more
Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Fifty years ago Sir Francis Chichester sailed from Devon on voyage that would make him famous, as Chrissy Harris reports

Read more
Tuesday, April 3, 2018

England and GB Women’s hockey star, Giselle Ansley, looks back at a whirlwind 18 months since winning Gold at the Rio Olympics and tells Devon Life of her delight at the impact the team’s success has had on the sport

Read more
Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Bo is living the doggie dream as #1 taster at Devon dog food company Forthglade, writes Belinda Jones

Read more
Friday, March 23, 2018

The ladies’ group has been so successful that the husbands and boyfriends left at home have decided to establish their own group!

Read more
Tuesday, March 20, 2018

A very familiar face from our television screens is coming to the county soon in a completely different guise to his acting work

Read more
Friday, March 9, 2018

Devon has produced some of the world’s best talent when it comes to film, music, sport, TV or pretty much any other field you can think of. Here are 18 celebrities that have shaped popular culture in their own unique way

Read more
Thursday, March 8, 2018

From nurses to TV stars, chefs to campaigners and runners to cider makers, Devon’s women are some of the most inspirational people you’ll meet in day-to-day life. We celebrate 12 who’ve made a mark on our county’s cultural and social landscape

Read more
Tuesday, March 6, 2018

A unique steamship is being restored at Bideford for a new educational role, writes Owen Jones

Read more
Friday, March 2, 2018

Rural communities throughout the UK could be eligible to receive funding via the Calor Rural Community Fund from energy provider Calor

Read more
 
A+ South & South West
 
Great British Holidays advert link
 
Pure Weddings advert link
 
South West Life advert link

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter


Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Subscribe or buy a mag today


subscription ad


Local Business Directory

Devon's trusted business finder

Job search in your local area



Property Search