Veteran Royal Navy Petty Officer Jason Watkin, age 46 is raising awareness of mental health in veterans by dressing as an elf for the month of December.

Watkin, Area Maintenance Manager with Tesco is helping to raise awareness of mental health issues and raise funds for Veterans at East, a North East based charity which works in the community to help veterans overcome their traumas of war after serving in the military services.

The charity, which was honoured in 2016 with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK provides a much needed service across the region. Veterans at Ease raise funds through donations and events and provide support for veterans, reservists, serving military personnel and their families deal with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other combat stress-related issues.

Veterans At Ease CEO Garreth Murrell comments: “It is great that Jason is helping to raise funds for us which will help to continue to provide the support for our clients. We will help anyone who feels they need our support whether they have been diagnosed with PTSD or not.

“Our therapy is provided free of charge by our trained therapists, all of whom have suffered themselves, been through treatment with Veterans At Ease and then gone on to qualify as therapy practitioners themselves.”

Jason who is an ex-beneifciary of Veterans at Ease support, made the decision to help raise awareness of mental health issues and raise funds during the festive time of the year. “I decided to wear an elf outfit for the month of December and even have a bespoke made Elf Outfit to wear at Christmas parties. Due to “Elf and Safety” reasons Jason will have to wear Christmas jumpers to work but outside of work will be slipping into something more elf like and dress as an elf for the month.

“The funds are needed to help people just like me and many others I know, who may struggle with PTSD,” says Jason.

After serving 17 years in the Royal Navy, joining straight from school, he enjoyed a varied career and was part of a Hong Kong anti-smuggling task force and served on two of the Navy’s most known ships, aircraft carriers HMS Illustrious and Invincible. Jason also served in the former Yugoslavia and southern Iraq.

The charity says that evidence has shown that the majority of servicemen and women do not seek help with regard to combat-related stress issues until 10 to 14 years after the event. Recent estimates show that as many as 90,000 people could be affected by PTSD in the North East alone.

If anyone would like additional information, or believe you or someone you know can benefit from Veterans At Ease services, please feel free to contact us on 07887 493459 or E-mail us at admin@veteransatease.org.

For more information or to donate to Veterans At Ease, please visit http://www.veteransatease.org/ and follow on Facebook @Veteransatease.