A former paratrooper who was illegally imprisoned in India for over four years is the cover star of our April issue, speaking about his mental resilience, ahead of mental health awareness week in May.

Nick Dunn, who lives in Ashington, Northumberland, spoke to Pathfinder International magazine about his experience from hell in India. Dunn, 33, was arrested whilst working as part of an anti-piracy security team on board the Seaman Guard Ohio, when it docked in the Port of Tuticorin, only for the crew to be questioned over their weapons and subsequently detained.

Nick told Pathfinder: “We docked and suddenly it was chaos, there was so many people everywhere. Police, maritime organisations even the media. Everyone and their dog tried to board our vessel, at one point a barrier went up to stop people coming on board or we would have capsized.”

After countless court hearings, appeals and in an international tug of war, Nick along with his colleagues, was eventually released after four-year nightmare inside an Indian prison.

Now Nick, who has been back in the UK for over a year, tells of his integration back into normal life.

“Now I have been home over a year, it has been a transitional time again, almost like leaving the Army again. The world had changed over those four years and I am still trying to play catch up. My family have been amazing in helping me through it, I also have a psychologist helping me too.”

Nick spoke for the first time about his experiences in public at Pathfinder’s Armed Forces & Veterans Resettlement Expo at St. James’ Park in November. Now he has teamed up with the magazine again to put mental health in the spotlight ahead of the national week of awareness in May.

Pathfinder International editor, Mal Robinson said: “We as a military resettlement magazine are huge advocates of highlighting mental health problems in the armed forces community and beyond and so it made sense to include in a way, a positive story with Nick Dunn, on how he coped with life in unimaginable circumstances, whilst mentioning the unique transitional period veterans experience when returning back to society, be it direct from the forces, or as in Nick’s case, via overseas contract work and for Nick, a horrific period of his life. If his story can help others going through difficult times in any way, then hopefully some good will have come of this.”

Mental Health Awareness Week is hosted by the Mental Health Foundation (MHF) and always takes places in the second week of May. Research has shown that over 16 million people suffer from mental health problems in some form each year. (Source: MHF). For more information on Mental Health Awareness Week visit: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/campaigns/mental-health-awareness-week

Nick concludes in the magazine: “Mentally I am fine, when I do think back on it I only get upset or angry when I think about my mam and what she went through whilst I was in prison. What is done is done. Stepping off the flight in Newcastle, I stopped and I could smell crisp clean air, then I knew I was safely home. Newcastle Airport were fantastic. The staff were clapping their hands as I came off the flight. My family and friends were at the other side of security waiting for me. It was like winning the lottery ten times over.”

To read the entire interview click here: http://bit.ly/PFApr19