Sharks Forces visit Eccles to support our veterans

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A MILITARY veteran has launched a support project for ex-servicemen in the Salford area called Sharks Forces.

A study by Mental Health Foundation found that 23.7% of the UK Armed Forces Personnel suffer a mental disorder.

Sharks Forces is a project which aims to aid veterans in gaining employment, and to provide mental health support. Sale Sharks and the Poppy Legion fund the project, and every Tuesday they hold an event at Eccles Rugby Club.

Quays News spoke to Craig Monaghan, a Mancunian veteran who runs Sharks Forces after being injured on Operation Herrick 10 in Afghanistan, and was medically discharged from service in 2012.

He suffered a traumatic brain injury which left him with just 26% of his hearing.

Craig Monaghan

Craig’s injuries worsened, and in 2016/2017 he was unable to even recognise himself in the mirror.

He suffered severe PTSD, which contested his whole existence. He attempted suicide three times because of this.

Since his journey of self-discovery, Craig has earned 2 Guinness World Records and has made 6 appearances for England Deaf Rugby. He has also represented Team UK at various events.

Craig at Sale Sharks Rugby Club

“The programme comes to where the need is.”

There is known to be around 10,000 ex-veterans in the Salford area alone.

Craig said: “Even though veteran’s are considered some of the most reliable people in the world, when we come out of service, we kind of rebel a bit.

“One lad who comes to the programme suffered severe depression, he thought life on the outside would be the same as it was on the weekends, but it wasn’t. He became very depressed and lived in a top-floor flat in Eccles and never came out, he found out about the project and got in touch. So, we went to see him in his flat, a very socially isolated person, we look 16 months on and he’s now running our creative arts project on Sharks Forces.”

The support groups are a place for veterans to socialise and discuss their emotions, as well as interacting with other ex-servicemen helping them see that they are not alone and there is many other people in the exact same position as them.

The programme also offers one-to-one peer support appointments on Thursdays, as well as fitness sessions and activities.

Sharks Forces

Leaflet for Sharks Forces

 If you are a veteran from the Salford/Manchester area and need a place to socialise, express your feelings, or need support, follow Sharks Forces on Twitter.

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