The Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity is committed to ensuring that veterans receive the support they need when leaving the service.

Most veterans are able to transition back to civilian life successfully. However, for those who can’t, the RNRMC is there to help. In 2018, the RNRMC provided £85,000 to The Poppy Factory, one of the country’s leading employment charities for veterans.

For those who struggle to transition, The Poppy Factory provide comprehensive support and advice to those who need help. Distinguished Petty Officer, Chris O’Donnell, found it difficult to secure regular employment after he left the service. Also struggling with his mental health, Chris reached out to The Poppy Factory and his life has been turned around. This is Chris’ story.

"I spent 15 years as a Petty Officer in the Royal Navy and received a Commendation for Bravery award. I didn’t feel like I deserved it though as my act of bravery was overshadowed by an empty feeling. I was young and I had never seen a dead body before or even attended a funeral.

I remember pulling dead bodies from the sea and the one that I left behind haunted me. After leaving the Navy, I started to wonder whether I had made the right decision, and although I did not know it at the time, I was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

I spent some time in Chicago and received mental health treatment there that left me feeling more vulnerable than before, so I decided to come back to the UK. That’s where my road to recovery started; after being referred to the Veteran’s hospital I was introduced to Rachel from The Poppy Factory.

Rachel provided the support that I had been missing. Together we were able to explore the things that I wanted to do. We looked for opportunities in areas that interested me and I was keen to experience life in a different way. Now I am in a job that I enjoy and feel like I am giving to society rather than taking.”