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SAS should get counselling to fend off trauma later in life, says widow

By Theo Usherwood

SAS soldiers should be forced to take up counselling to avoid post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) later in life, the widow of a Troubles veteran has said.

Martin Pratt, who served with the elite regiment during the 1970s and '80s, developed severe nightmares and flashbacks following the death of his mother - 30 years after he saw active service in Northern Ireland.

The grandfather's life spiralled into depression and alcoholism as he battled against the illness before he died in August aged 59.

However his widow Suzan believes his training with the SAS meant it was impossible for psychotherapists to help him.

To dispel myths that seeking counselling is a weakness, soldiers should be obliged to take up psychological help, the 55-year-old retired headteacher said.

Mrs Pratt, from near Grantham, Lincolnshire, said: "Anyone who shows mental difficulty is immediately returned to their unit so they don't want to admit it.

"There were never any signs that he was suffering from any form of depression until his mother died in 2006. He developed PTSD and we subsequently heard that it is common for something like that to trigger it."

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