Help for Heroes lights up Tower of London to focus on veterans' mental health

Veterans take four years on average to seek help for their trauma.

Help for Heroes lights up Tower of London to focus on veterans' mental health

Help for Heroes is illuminating the Tower of London with a "stigma clock" on Blue Monday to symbolise the time it takes veterans to seek help for psychological trauma.

The campaign, created by McCann London and McCann Enterprise, represents the four years that it takes on average for armed forces veterans to seek help for their trauma.

The clock will be projected on to the Tower of London today – known as Blue Monday because it is considered the most depressing day of the year – to show support for veterans who are suffering in silence.

When the public retweets, "likes" and shares posts on social media using the hashtag #StigmaClock, Help for Heroes will shave time off the clock to show the progress that support gives to the four-year waiting period.

A livestream will be hosted at CutTheClock.com for viewers to follow the clock's progress.

Karen Mead, head of psychological wellbeing at Help for Heroes, said: "Our campaign is asking the nation to call time on stigma and to let those who have served their country know it’s OK to ask for help. We need the community’s support to help us fund vital programmes to ensure we can continue to be there and respond quickly when veterans do take that big step and ask for help."

A survey commissioned by Help for Heroes found that veterans often delay asking for help by nearly four years, with 28% of responders saying they did not think civilian services would understand or support them and 25% having a fear of being treated differently by friends. More alarmingly, 30% of veterans asserted that they had never accessed support.

Donations collected during the campaign will also move the clock forward and help fund Help for Heroes’ physical and mental well-being programmes.