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Essex: Music course relieves soldier’s PTSD

18:30 07 May 2014

Steve Mckean, front, a former Royal Anglian Regiment infantryman whose PTSD has been vastly reduced after taking part in Rock School at the Colchester Institute. Pictured with other Rock School members.

Steve Mckean, front, a former Royal Anglian Regiment infantryman whose PTSD has been vastly reduced after taking part in Rock School at the Colchester Institute. Pictured with other Rock School members.

Archant

A soldier with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) has got his life back on track thanks to a music course.

Steve Mckean served as an infantryman with the Royal Anglian Regiment for six years, including three operational tours abroad.

He left the Army in 1995 and was medically retired three years ago after his GP diagnosed PTSD in August 2006 - something Steve links to seeing “some quite horrific stuff” while serving.

Steve, 48, said: “I didn’t understand what was happening to me and it took my doctor to recognise the signs.

“It affected my relationships and work, I had flashbacks and nightmares, I had to leave crowded places and I couldn’t go out for two weeks around Guy Fawkes night.”

But after joining the Rock School, run by the Clacton campus of the Colchester Institute, Steve has turned his life around.

The Weeley resident said: “If I hadn’t taken the course I would have been climbing the walls. It has given me something to focus on and something positive, as opposed to sitting indoors twiddling my thumbs.

“Music is something I am passionate about anyway but I have learnt a lot more about timings and things.

“Along with finding somebody who means the world to me and understands everything which is going on, it has allowed me to be here now. It has been a long struggle.”

The course finishes with an end of year concert tomorrow, including a range of acts from rap, acoustic and rock performances, with Steve compering the event.

Course tutor David Brown added: “There has been a noticeable change in Steve since he started, music is a very transformational tool.”

The concert takes place at the Princes Theatre, Clacton, with doors opening at 7.30pm. Tickets cost £5.

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