Scheme helps soldiers suffering from aftermath of serving in Afghanistan

With the number of sick and injured personnel returning from the conflict in Afghanistan is continuing to rise, a new scheme is hoping to help returning service men and women to recover and rehabilitate by getting back to nature.

It is being run by the National Park Authority in Yorkshire and the first recruit is from Scotland.

The North York Moors are a far cry from Afghanistan, but as Major Elspeth De Montes has found out, that is no bad thing.

Originally from Glasgow, army medic Elspeth has been recovering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder since returning from a tour of duty in Afghanistan's notorious Helmand province.

She said: "We were in Helmand and I wasn't just sort of sitting in the back of an ambulance, I was going out and I'm not sort of suggesting that other people weren't it's just for me that was very much something that I wasn't fully prepared for mentally, seeing all the things I did. I'm not sure how you can prepare because we're all human aren't we?"

Elspeth is the first to take part in a scheme here in the National Park to help service personnel recover from sickness and injury.

The physical threat of serving in such a dangerous theatre is obvious. But there are mental strains too.

She said: "It's very up front isn't it? If you're in the army, you're in the army.

"You can't sort of hide in the background, you've got the uniform on, you're in the control of your superiors to an extent, you're having orders, whereas here it was a kind of bubble in the civilian world where you could recover without necessarily having a lot of the army issues to deal with.

The scheme has worked for Elspeth, who takes up a new posting in the next few weeks. The hope is it can help others too.

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