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What fireworks mean for Jason Haynes

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As bonfire night draws closer we offer a gentle reminder - fireworks aren’t fun for everyone.

For Veterans suffering from PTSD, fireworks aren’t a harmless way to celebrate but can trigger a traumatic reaction. On 11th November we will pause and pay tribute to our Service men and women, so, why not - just days before - spare a thought for Veterans like Jason Haynes.

Jason’s trauma and PTSD diagnosis means the 5th November isn’t carefree as it once was. As with many Veterans, the widespread and largely unregulated use of fireworks on and around bonfire night can be intensely triggering:

“I am affected by fireworks because of the different loud bangs. The multi-coloured ones send my PTSD through the roof and take me back to my ambush.

“I feel it affects all veterans in a similar way, it upsets us and makes us quiver into a ball in the corner. We jump to the slightest bang, flashes etc.”

When Jason’s symptom’s worsened he found PTSD Resolution, and began to get his life back. A UK wide charity, PTSDR provides much needed help for Forces’ Veterans suffering the effects of trauma. The therapy is free for Veterans, Reservists and their families and has a near eight out of ten success rate in resolving symptoms to the satisfaction of the client and therapist - with over 2,500 referrals to date.

Tony Gauvain, therapist and chairman of PTSD Resolution, explains:

“Any sensory experience which the brain interprets as being something like a past traumatic event can trigger a spontaneous reaction - for example, a sudden bang, the smell of burning, a flash of light.

“PTSD Resolution therapists are trained in skills that help the brain interpret such triggers in a less intrusive away and reduce the emotional impact of the traumatic event. Rather than fear and avoid each Guy Fawkes night, Veterans are encouraged to contact PTSD Resolution and take steps to regain control and enjoy life.”

After treatment Jason turned his thoughts to others suffering with trauma. He discussed fireworks and their potential to trigger a relapse with his therapist - and was able to take part in a government enquiry. In 2019 a petition and a parliamentary commission were held into what can be done to mitigate the impact of fireworks on Veterans and others dealing with Post Traumatic Stress.

Jason believes bonfire night should only be marked with proper or official fireworks displays that have a license from the government.

So, this November, please be aware of the wide range of experiences and vulnerabilities that exist within our community - and celebrate responsibly.

Contact PTSD Resolution on 0300 302 0551 or email contact@ptsdresolution.org