COMBAT Stress, the UK’s leading mental health charity for veterans, has introduced a new Green Skills Project for those receiving treatment for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

The project, aimed at improving the physical and mental wellbeing of veterans, takes place at Hollybush House treatment centre, Ayrshire, and teaches participants woodwork skills.

Veterans are guided through creating and designing a number of pieces, including benches, fencing, a rustic cabin, wood carvings and sculptures, all from materials sourced from the surrounding areas.

Up to 16 veterans will take part in the project, which consists of four modules completed over four weeks, and the activities are adapted to suit the group’s interests, skills and physical limitations, which can play a key role in a veteran’s health and happiness.

Frank, one of the veterans who took part in the project, said: “I think the Green Skills concept works so well because it brings you together as a team. The project helped me re-kindle my confidence with problem solving and my communication skills.”

“The project has given me the confidence to look outside the box and to consider the points of view of other people.

“It has also taught me that discussing a problem or issue is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of inner strength and confidence to accept help and advice to assist with resolving a problem.”

Lee Watson, occupational therapy lead at Hollybush House, said: “I have never seen the veterans more active, in terms of both social interaction and their enthusiasm, as I have since we implemented the Green Skills Project.

“Participants are able to focus on what they are able to do rather than what they can’t do, and it provides an opportunity for them to discover strengths and abilities which they might not have imagined before.”

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