A VITAL veterans hub was given another year’s funding – after it helped one suicidal resident who was angry at being brought back to life and having to live with horrific bomb blast injuries.

Irvine’s Veterans First provides support to all veterans of any age 16-65 and above across Ayrshire with 10 per cent of the population having served in the forces.

Around 50 per cent of referrals seek support for mental health issues, with welfare, housing, employment, training and social support provided.

The service was funded by the Scottish Government and the three Ayrshire health partnerships in a 50 per cent matched agreement until March 2020.

North Ayrshire Health and Social Care Partnership’s Integrated Joint Board approved another year’s funding to allow the continuation of the now established hub past March 2020.

The spending plan would see Ayrshire and Arran contribute £234,293, the Scottish Government £109,923, North Ayrshire £71,287, South Ayrshire £25,586, East Ayrshire £27,497.

Janet Davies told the Integration Joint Board: “I can’t go into the rationale of what [funding] went where but overall I think that reflected the uptake of the service in terms of the North taking a greater proportion.”

Health chiefs heard the story of one veteran, Harry, a double amputee as a result of being blown up whilst in combat, who died at the scene but was resuscitated by army medics.

He was left with a large open wound which will never heal and is highly vulnerable to infection, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and addiction issues as a result of trying to self-medicate with daily alcohol, cocaine or cannabis, suffering frequent nightmares and flashbacks of the bomb as well as suicidal thoughts.

Harry was very angry that he did not die in the explosion as he found it, understandably, difficult to adjust to life with his physical injuries and mental health issues.

Harry’s mother referred him to V1P A&A after Harry had isolated himself and refused to let her or his father provide him with support. Harry also withdrew from his wife, which led to a breakdown in the marriage and eventual divorce.

The Veteran Peer Support Workers contacted Harry for a chat over the telephone. Due to the fact that they had served in the forces and shared a common military language, he was able to quickly establish a good rapport.

Over the past several months, Harry has been supported to re-engage with the District Nursing team, which was vital to ensure Harry’s wound is kept clean and free from infection.

The report states: “It is strongly believed that Harry’s needs could not have been met by any other service and that ultimately this patient was at real risk of developing a serious infection, death through accidental overdose through high use of illicit substances, completing suicide or being arrested for not attending his court hearing.”