In aid of the wonderful ‘Combat Stress – For Mental Veterans Health’ charity and sponsored by Raytheon UK, it was a real delight for me to spend much of yesterday at Lords Cricket Ground, the venerable home of cricket, as a guest of the sponsor.
Played at a different cricket grounds each year and always in aid of raising money for ‘Combat Stress’, Inter Services 2022 cricket included members of the Royal Navy, Royal Air Force and Army cricket teams and for the very first-time members of the Services’ Women’s cricket team
Raytheon UK has been the key sponsor the annual Inter Services T20 (IST20) tournament, an event founded in 2005 when the first matches were played on the Aldershot Army Cricket Ground, for many years now and it does so with great pride because it rightly believes in the importance of supporting Combat Stress in order to raise awareness of mental health within the military and wider public.
Combat Stress are the UK’s leading charity for veterans’ mental health. For over a century, it has been helping former servicemen and women with mental health problems such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety and depression and other mental health issues.
The charity provides specialist treatment and support for veterans from every service and conflict, focusing on those with complex mental health issues. The bottom line of what Combat Stress does is that its work is life changing and very often, life-saving. No one else does what Combat Stress does and this makes supporting the charity even more important.
Through supporting fun sporting events such as IST20, Raytheon believes that it can deliver a serious message and help break down any taboos still associated with talking about mental health. Whilst physical health has always been a priority for the military and industry, the importance now is about making sure that mental health is treated with the same level of importance that it clearly deserves and in sharing that message more widely
The Combat Stress charity provides a range of community, outpatient and residential mental health services to veterans with complex mental health problems with services in-person, and via phone and online. The statistics of what they do speak for themselves – in 2021 for instance, Combat Stress answered no fewer than 11,000 call, helped 14,000 veterans and used 81p from every £1 raised on veteran’s treatment and support.
So, what does a company like Raytheon UK choose to support combat stress? The answer is that as a large and very important UK defence company Raytheon UK believes very firmly in making mental health awareness a strategic well-being priority for employees. To that end the company has trained a group of employees to become mental health ambassadors in order to help employees and managers support colleagues through difficult and challenging times.
With both external help at the ready and internal support, including dedicated hub of resources, mental health issues in their many forms are constantly being addressed by Raytheon. Through providing seminars, lectures and first-hand accounts of how people have dealt with their experiences, it is clear to me from talking to members of the company who attended the IST20 event at Lords yesterday that Raytheon believes that every experience and way of talking about it [mental health issues] is different and that the motto perhaps might be ‘be prepared’.
I will end with a quote taken from a conversation I had yesterday with Sen Sami, Director of Communication at Raytheon UK and one that I know is equally well shared by Raytheon UK CEO Jeff Lewis: and other members of this fine company:
“We also know that sport is a good medium for dealing with stress and very pleased to be supporting armed forces with the cricket. Exercise is a great way to boost our mood and it promotes great collaboration, camaraderie and togetherness, an attitude we take towards mental health”
If you would like to support the Combat Stress charity in any way details can be found on the link below:
Visions: Our vision is for all former servicemen and women with complex mental health problems to live full and meaningful lives.
Combat Stress Values are:
Together. We are united in purpose, collaborative in action
Focussed: We are clear about what we will and won’t do to deliver the best outcomes
Bold. We’ll do and say what we must to achieve our organisation’s vision.
Personal. We respect diversity and appreciate everyone’s individual needs and talents.
My final comment is simply ‘what is there not to like. Thank you, Raytheon UK, thank you Combat Stress.
CHW (London 17th June 2022)
Howard Wheeldon FRAeS
Wheeldon Strategic Advisory Ltd,
M: +44 7710 779785