Peterborough actor and television star Luke Pasqualino has shown his support for the launch of SSAFA’s Got Your Back campaign by getting tattooed.
Luke, 26, star of Skins, Three Musketeers and Our Girl, was a real trooper and agreed to be tattooed for the day with the hashtag #gotyourback to show the nation that he, along with SSAFA, is proud to have the backs of the Armed Forces community, urging them to contact SSAFA’s confidential Forcesline if they need help, either on Freephone 0800 731 4880 or by emailing the team via www.ssafa.org.uk/gotyourback.
The campaign was launched this month to encourage vulnerable members of the Armed Forces and veterans, to put aside their pride and come forward for help when they need it.
New research from the charity reveals that serving personnel and veterans find it extremely challenging to seek help when they have a problem, with less than one per cent said they would seek help from a charity if they found themselves in need. The national results show:
* 58 per cent said that the feeling that ‘they should be equipped to deal with problems themselves’ was the reason they would delay asking for help.
* 42 per cent said that ‘fearing that their life was at risk’ would be the catalyst to persuade them to come forward for help.
* 39 per cent did ‘not feel valued by society during their time in the Armed Forces’.
* 33 per cent said they would ‘not seek support for financial hardship’.
* 32 per cent said that they ‘didn’t feel it was in their character to ask for help’.
* 21 per cent said that they would ‘not ask for help if struggling from mental health issues’.
* 19 per cent said that they ‘would rather deal with an addiction problem alone’, rather than ask for support.
While most military personnel make a successful transition to civilian life, some younger veterans, in particular, are experiencing serious social and financial difficulties and are reliant on food banks while others have ended up homeless or in prison.
SSAFA reports that some of the most common needs of those vulnerable veterans include – urgent debt support, essential food and groceries and clothing, home mobility adaptations for those who have been injured in service and training costs to help them back into work. However, too often these individuals and their families are either too proud to ask for help or don’t know where to turn, or both. The charity’s ‘Got Your Back’ campaign aims to let them know it is here for them and always will be.
Rtd Lieutenant General Sir Andrew Gregory, chief executive, SSAFA said: “Although the majority of veterans transition successfully, SSAFA’s new research has identified a concerning percentage of veterans and serving personnel who are extremely reluctant to come forward for support if they need it.
“The research has confirmed the charity’s suspicions those younger, working-age veterans who the charity is supporting, tend to come to SSAFA only once they have hit rock bottom.
“When we ask them why they have waited so long before seeking assistance, the answer is very often that they felt too proud to ask. It is much easier for SSAFA to help a beneficiary get his or her life back on track at the beginning of their difficulties – which could materialise for many different reasons, rather than further down the line once their issues have snowballed. SSAFA understands that our soldiers, sailors, airmen and airwomen are resilient characters. Whilst serving the Nation they become fitter, more robust and more self-sufficient; they are rightly proud of their role and of themselves.
“SSAFA’s Got Your Back campaign has a simple and clear message; those who have served this country have protected our backs; don’t be too proud now to ask us to protect yours. Please call us.”