Veterans at Ease
In eight days’ time, it will be the 101st anniversary of just one of many
terrible events of the First World War.
On the 10th December 1916, on the orders of Sir Douglas Haig and shortly prior to Haig’s promotion to Field Marshall, Second Lieutenant Eric Poole was executed by firing squad.
Despite having been hospitalised in July 1916 for shell-shock, and a possible traumatic brain injury, Poole was returned to command a Company of men in August. In October 1916, in a state of distress, he left his platoon on a move to the trenches. After two days, he was arrested and subsequently convicted by Court Martial, despite defence submissions of his mental state.
Fast forward 100 years and society has a much greater appreciation of, if perhaps not an understanding of, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
While charities dealing with the physical injuries sustained by those coming back from conflicts have become household names, those dealing with the mental health consequences are far less well-known.
One example is Veterans at Ease
Established in 2010, they provide bespoke therapy to veterans and serving military personnel, whether regular or Reservist, for a range of combat stress and PTSD illnesses.
From a main therapy centre in Durham, Veterans at Ease aim to build a network of outreach centres across the North East, providing support for those affected, whether diagnosed or not. Their therapy is based on NLP Psychotherapy, and can accommodate the varying degrees of illness found among clients.
Founded by Gareth Murrell – now Veterans’ at Ease senior therapist, Murrell took redundancy from his role as a CSI instructor to set up the organisation to provide what he felt was an urgently required service, for service personnel. The requirement for the service was obvious to him, despite evidence demonstrating that veterans admitting that they have needs are in the minority. Those unable, or unwilling, to speak out frankly about their suffering are believed to be a far larger group.
From their beginnings in one centre, Veterans at Ease are spreading out across the North East and are now to provide a drop-in centre in the garrison town of Chester. To be run by Ambassador to Veterans at Ease Steve Ashton, the centre will continue the invaluable outreach work that has seen unprecedented demand in the North East.
Veterans at Ease are at pains to point out that contact with them can be made in a variety of ways, not necessarily by attendance at one of their centres. A spokesperson for Veterans at Ease says, “the first contact can be the hardest for some people, but it need not be formally stepping through a door. We can be approached in the way that is easiest to the person reaching out. Full contact details are available through our website and on our Facebook page. Each of our therapists has been in that position before, they understand.”
Veterans at Ease can be found at
Written by a Veterans Network staff writer.