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About Combat Stress

The UK's leading charity for veterans' mental health

When some military personnel leave service, their experiences can't easily be left behind. Without treatment, psychological trauma can eventually tear lives apart.

We have over 100 years of experience caring for veterans and our role today is to help those with some of the most complex challenges, like PTSD. Our life-changing mental health treatment helps veterans tackle their past, so they can take on the future.


Art Therapy at Combat Stress


"Tapping into creativity and inventiveness can help to manage the way we approach our problems. Although the source of our worries might still be around, building a creative time into the day can provide a positive focus that stimulates and concentrates our minds and relaxes our bodies." - Jan, Art Therapist

Art and creativity play a key part in our specialist treatment. Veterans have the chance to explore art therapy during treatment to help them express their emotions and find a way to explore their mental health issues.

We understand that it can be hard to talk about difficult experiences. Art therapy provides a channel of expression for emotions that may be too difficult to put into words. A different way of working through traumatic experiences. It’s not about how good the art it, it’s about what it represents.

We have an Art Therapist at each of our treatment centres and everyone attending one of our residential programmes has the opportunity to take part. Each art therapy session is theme-based and you have 45 minutes to create artwork to express your personal association with the theme. We then come together to discuss the work and share our thoughts with the group.

A Veteran's Story


Army veteran Gary was introduced to Combat Stress after serving in conflict left him experiencing mental health issues. Gary, a BA (Hons) degree graduate in fine art, had been using his practice to cope with his symptoms for years, and built on this by exploring art therapy as part of his treatment with Combat Stress.

Since then, Gary has continued to pursue his passion for art, taking part in exhibitions and winning awards for his work. He has submitted artwork for the Secret Postcard Auction for three years in a row - including this year.

He says: “I saw at first hand the contribution given to our nation by our service personnel on a daily basis, that commitment and its cost. Painting for me is a communication; relaying a narrative, a sensation, that invites us to look, and to contemplate the human condition and our connection to our environment.

“My hope is that I, through my simple images, can give something back, by supporting the incredible efforts of Combat Stress.”

Artwork by artists like Gary – veterans who have benefited from art therapy – will be included in the Secret Postcard Auction.

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