STORY OF HOPE: Former soldier Andy Fermo sees things a lot more positively these days and helps others with their mental health.
STORY OF HOPE: Former soldier Andy Fermo sees things a lot more positively these days and helps others with their mental health.

Former commando’s brave PTSD journey

ANDY Fermo did two tours of Afghanistan during his time as a commando in the special forces unit.

Some of the experiences were so horrific they left him with an emotional scar that, sadly, is far too common for our ex-servicemen and women.

Fermo recalled one incident that nearly took his life and had lasting effects on his mental health.

"We ran over a roadside bomb and we were all blown up inside this vehicle," he said.

"We were under fire and we had mass casualties.

"My life flashed before my eyes."

Thankfully the Tewantin resident is in a better place these days and now he gives hope to others in helping them overcome their PTSD.

He has written about his journey with PTSD in the upcoming book Stories of Hope, Volume 2.

As his way of giving back, Fermo has created the not-for-profit organisation Invisible Injuries.

He believes the Sunshine Coast is as good a place as any to base his passion for helping others. "Southeast Queensland has the most ex-service people in Australia," he said.

"There are a lot of bases here in Queensland.

"There are a lot of people who would have PTSD or some sort of other issues related to their service."

Fermo said there was a particular focus on helping the older generation of ex-servicemen.

"Blokes find it hard to talk about their feelings at the best of times," he said.

Through Invisible Injuries, Fermo will take out the guess work for ex-service people to find the right support.

"Nationwide there are 3000 organisations," he said.

"I'm the guy that is going to collaborate with them."

Along with the other 11 contributing authors, Fermo will speak on stage at the ­Stories of Hope, Volume 2 book launch.

The event will be held on Thursday, March 12, at Venue 114, Bokarina.

For more information go to the Stories of Hope Facebook page.


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