October 01, 2009


I bought the Suday Times but only got round to reading this today. A Sunday times journalist has spent time talking to grieving families all over the country.

...During his time in Afghanistan, part of Hale’s duties included the so-called TRM-ing of soldiers who had been in fierce firefights with the Taliban or who were showing signs of stress after tense patrols in which colleagues might routinely be blown up or shot.

TRM-ing, or trauma risk and management, is a fairly new concept and Hale was at the forefront of the army’s efforts to identify those at risk of post-traumatic stress before it is too late. “Mark would talk to the guys after firefights . . . He’d say, ‘it’s okay to feel this’, or ‘it’s okay to feel that’. If boys have seen friends shot, sometimes they dirty themselves and he’d have to impress on the others that you can’t take the mickey out of someone in that situation. It happens and it’s okay. And it’s okay to cry too.”

Did Hale need TRM-ing himself? Brenda had been distressed at the news that he was being posted to Afghanistan and never quite got over the nagging feeling that something awful would happen: “He’d done the Falklands, he’d done Iraq, he’d done Bosnia and Kosovo . . . I’d never had that feeling before but suddenly I just thought: you can’t keep going to these places. I said to him last summer, ‘One day your luck’s going to run out’.” ...


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