For Tina, finding Mates4Mates has given her a “second home”. A safe space where she can find respite, connect with friends, and get the support she needs.
Her husband, Craig, was medically discharged from the army 20 years ago after breaking his back and has been left with PTSD, anxiety, depression and chronic pain.
Supporting someone with service-related injuries can take its toll, even on the strongest people, but with Mates4Mates, Tina knows she is not alone.
It’s the one place that she feels heard, she feels seen and she feels understood.
“At times, as a partner it can be hard when everyone always asks about Craig, but never asks how I’m going. Craig is getting the help he needs now, but people assume I don’t need support,” she said.
“But it’s different at Mates4Mates – they always care. When I do walk in the door, the staff know what’s going on and they have empathy. They will always ask how I am. I really appreciate it.
Since meeting Craig, 14 years ago, Tina has watched him go through the highs and lows of life after service, with this year, being the most difficult.
“Craig tried to take his own life earlier this year and I found him. After that, I went into a depression. He didn’t want to wake up alive and I didn’t know how to help. But people need to know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.”
Tina said that knowing that Mates4Mates services are available, means she doesn’t feel like she needs to fill the role of a nurse, a psychologist, or a health professional.
“You can’t do it on your own. You need professional help. We tried to do it on our own, but it doesn’t work,” she said.
While Craig accesses psychology services, Tina is a regular face at the Townsville Family Recovery Centre, taking part in PT sessions, pilates, yoga and other activities. She has also accessed psychology services.
“As a partner, I’ve been able to do so much - I get so much out of going to Mates4Mates.”
National Appeal Day is raising funds to ensure that people like Tina, can access vital services to improve their quality of life. All funds raised will help Mates4Mates deliver over 50 new programs that target the everyday challenges that veterans and their families face – like Tina and Craig.
No one should have to go through injuries and mental health issues alone.
“These programs will be a huge benefit. Anything that we can do to better our mental health - we appreciate every single bit of it,” Tina said.
Please, help people like Tina continue to have access to our services at no cost. We can’t do it without you.