What happens when Prince Harry asks the question “How can returned servicemen and women be recognised for their achievements and not given sympathy?” The answer is the Invictus Games. With Sydney set to host the Invictus Games in October 2018 the University of South Australia and The Repat Foundation – The Road Home have joined forces to harness the power of sport and support the physical, psychological and social wellbeing of our returned service men and women by launching the Invictus Pathways Program. read more
“When I left the military there was a massive gap in my life and I didn’t have anything to fill that…”
Brendan Hardman’s life stopped when he had to suddenly leave the Australian Army after seven years of active service, forced to return home in April 2016 after a severe back and knee injury. Brendan had no choice but to take 12 months off from all forms of work to recover from his injuries. The dramatic change in his life and his lack of mobility left him severely depressed and living day to day with anxiety.
With his life unexpectedly changing at such a rapid pace, Brendan, who was used to being very active, was faced with operations and constant daily appointments at physiotherapies and doctors.
“The first four months after my discharge was filled nonstop with appointments, which took a major toll on me. It reinforced negative feelings as I was always focusing on my injuries, my pain and what I was no longer able to physically do,” Brendan said.
Brendan found light at the end of his dark tunnel when he joined The Road Home’s Wellbeing Program and its Invictus Pathways Program, allowing him to set his sights for the 2018 Sydney Invictus Games in wheelchair basketball.
“Leaving the Army injured was extremely difficult for me as I lost a sense of purpose and my life suddenly stopped. Thanks to The Road Home, I am able to prove to myself that I can still set goals and continue to live my life despite my injuries,” Brendan said.
Since beginning training only a few months ago, Brendan can already feel his mental wellbeing improving on a daily basis and so can his wife who has been there every step of the way.
“My wife is an incredible person who has been there for me in my darkest days. The amount we have been through has definitely made our relationship stronger. It has been very tough on her as my mental health directly affects her and she is left to pick up the pieces,” Brendan said.
“Since I began participating in the Wellbeing Program and training for the Invictus Games, she has seen a huge change with my mental health which has been really positive. She is very supportive and glad I’m out and about doing things again.
“The Road Home has given me the opportunity to speak about my journey at a number of events which has helped me regain confidence in myself again and be proud of the journey I have been through.”
Having the opportunity to set his sights in competing in wheelchair basketball, Brendan has been engaged and motivated each week which is creating a positive pathway for his mental wellbeing.
“Being able to train in wheelchair basketball is what keeps me coming back each week and to receive that next level mentorship keeps me motivated and on track with my mental wellbeing,” Brendan said.
“Making the Invictus Games next year would be fantastic. It’s about achieving goals I set myself and all I wanted from this Wellbeing Program is to prove to myself that I can still do things and set myself goals and be motivated to achieve them.”
We wish Brendan the very best in his journey to the Invictus Games and we look forward to keeping you up to date! If you are interested in joining our Wellbeing program, or would like more information on the Invictus Pathways Program please contact Program Manager, Fiona Dale, firstname.lastname@example.org, 08 7002 0880.
The Repat Foundation – The Road Home is proud to announce the successful recipients of the 2017 Research Grant Round for projects into the health and wellbeing of veterans, emergency service personnel and their families. read more
Father of two and Veteran Mark Reidy is passionate about increasing advocacy and supporting research into the invisible wounds of service that touch the lives of the men and women that put themselves in harm’s way to protect us. Like you, he wants to see change so they can get the help they so desperately need. Research will help make this happen and we’re so grateful for your support and people like Mark, who are helping to drive action. read more