Unload: Ex-RAF technician takes fight to post-traumatic stress with £40k film

An ex-RAF technician is hoping to create a film on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) by focussing on mental health services in Greater Manchester – but seeks £40,000 to sharpen focus on the condition.

Peter Carruthers, an avionics technician for seven years, is set to launch Unload at the end of the year and has set up a crowdfunding campaign in the hope of raising the money.

And the 36-year-old is confident his new feature will encourage veterans to seek help if they suffer from mental illness, and to educate the public on the realities of PTSD.

“People need to know they’re not alone and that the right help is out there,” said Peter.

“The film gives insight into how veterans are feeling when they first come to therapy, and how it can help them.”

The film will be the third Peter has made and his previous works have been endorsed by Dr Barbara Van Dahlen, a White House advisor on veterans’ mental health, and actor Sir Patrick Stewart, who described his film Fallout as ‘extremely powerful’.

And his most recent project will focus on the psychological therapy provided by the North West Military Veterans’ Service, who are funded by 32 Clinical Commissioning Groups from the North West.

The Service is run by Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust, who approached Peter after seeing his first film, requesting to train their staff with it.

“The Military Veterans’ Service is tailored to the needs of veterans, which gives them confidence that the staff will understand what they’ve been through,” added Peter.

Peter will play the character of British Army veteran Eddie, around whom the 40-minute drama focuses, as he struggles to accept and find help for his PTSD.

UNLOAD – A film about PTSD & Psychological Therapy – Indiegogo campaign video from Peter Carruthers on Vimeo.

After being approached by Pennine Care, Peter was invited to write and perform a monologue for the Imperial War Museum in 2013, which inspired Unload.

After the completion of the film, Horwich-born Peter intends to run a two-year UK outreach programme, to raise awareness and understanding of PTSD.

The writer has also been invited on a US tour, in the hopes of improving the standard of the therapy received by American veterans.

Pennine Care have already donated £10,000 in funds to Peter, who may receive a further £10,000 from NHS England to support the film’s production.

NHS England also hopes to be able to use Unload, to help train their staff and increase their understanding of what veterans are going through.

Clinical lead for the North West Military Veterans’ Service, Dr Alan Barrett, called Peter’s work ‘enormously powerful for clients and NHS professionals alike’.

“The story has both the darkness and the humour that is present so often in the experience of veterans we see,” added Dr Barrett.

“Most importantly, however, it is a story of hope – demonstrating what can be achieved when a motivated veteran and a skilled clinician work together.”

A further £40,000 is needed to complete the film and outreach programme, which Peter intends to raise through corporate sponsorship and a crowdfunding campaign.

For more information about Unload, or to sponsor Peter’s film, click here.

For more information on the Military Veterans Service, visit here.

Image courtesy of Peter Carruthers, with thanks

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