Harry attends 'Combat Stress Summit' at Parliament

In his capacity of Vice President of the National Register of Advanced Hypnotherapists, Harry Cannon was invited to attend the Mr David Cameron (now Prime Minister), Leader of the Opposition’s ‘Combat Stress Summit’ held at Portcullis House, Westminster on Wednesday 15th July 2009. The keynote speech was given by Andy McNab, a former member of the Special Air Service (SAS).


Over 100 people attended the summit; numerous Members of Parliament, members of the House of Lords, Psychiatrists from the Services, NHS & private sector, doctors and nurses, heads of charities, and senior officers from all of the services, all supporting or wishing to support our troops. With the emphasis on the enormity of the task, we were informed that in previous theatres of combat, post hostilities more combatants had killed themselves than had been killed due to enemy action. The silent killer dwelling within! 

We all know of these people; they turn to us seeking professional help and confidentiality, they feel let down. In most cases they are now ‘ex’ or ‘used to be’, some are still in service, scared to seek help from within because they do not want to be marked down as ‘past it’, ‘mad’, ‘burnt out’, or as we were informed, labelled a ‘jelly head’.

Dr Andrew Murrison MP, Shadow Minister of Defence, and speaker at the recent NRAH conference, started the ball rolling and after an introduction by Dr Liam Fox MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Defence, we were given a keynote address, a very open and personal view of mental health from the front line by Andy McNab DCM MM, leader of Bravo Two Zero and author describing the training support and awareness he had been given during his time as a general and elite soldier.

Andy continues to support our troops to this day, visiting them in combat zones and talking with them.

Discussion moved on to the mental health consequences of military operations, headed by Professor Simon Wessely. Here were looked at not only the front line troops, but others as well, support troops not in the line of fire, all the way back to families left at home. All may suffer from the effect of PTSD, either directly or indirectly.

Following a short break the summit resumed with the brief of what the government should do. This prompted some lively discussion, requiring that something should be done other than to pay lip service as seems to be the present case.

To allow our service personnel to be able to seek professional help appropriate to their needs, recognising that there is not a one method suits all and to hell with the others, there is a requirement for various therapies. Accepting that prevention is better than cure, the individuals needs must be recognised and addressed sooner rather than later, to minimise and eliminate greater problems further down the road, by way of internal help and external help. 

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