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Bonfire Night And PTSD

Written by on 29th October 2019

This Bonfire Night, ‘Remember, Remember, not just the fifth of November,’ but also those people in our communities who are living with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

While many people look forward to fireworks displays on the night, many others are filled with a great sense of foreboding in the lead up to Bonfire Night.

Rhondda Cynon Taf Council, which works very closely with its Armed Forces community, is this year opening the doors of its Park & Dare Theatre in Treorchy, offering a small sanctuary for those with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

A FREE screening of the award-winning 1964 movie Zulu, starring Stanley Baker and Michael Caine – and by popular demand from local Valley Veteran groups – is being shown at the Park & Dare Theatre on Tuesday, November 5.

Council Deputy Leader, Councillor Maureen Webber, also the Council’s Armed Forces Champion, said: “There are many people living in our local communities with PTSD, who may suffer as a result of Bonfire Night celebrations across our County Borough.

“While it is lovely to see so many people of all ages enjoying themselves on November 5, the Council is also very mindful of others who struggle to cope at this time of year.

“Fireworks going off, intense lights and sudden loud noises can cause people with PTSD to remember their own personal traumatic event in a split second.

“Our free movie night for our Armed Forces community will hopefully help ease their anxieties as they enjoy a night out with like-minded individuals in a warm, safe environment.

“That said, the Council also wants the public to enjoy a safe Bonfire Night with their family and friends. Please be mindful of your neighbours and let them know well in advance if you are going to be setting off fireworks or having a bonfire party.

“This way, those with PTSD can prepare for it and cope better with any symptoms they experience. So when it does come to Bonfire Night, enjoy the celebrations, but remember to be conscious of those around you”.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder also affects many people who have no connection with the Armed Forces.

Some find it best to stay inside during the time when people are going to be setting off fireworks and the celebrations are at their peak.Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is the name given to a set of symptoms that some people develop after experiencing major traumatic events in their lives. It especially affects those who have served in the Armed Forces.

A traumatic event could be a single incident or an accumulation of stressors over several months or even years. PTSD sufferers experience symptoms such as repeated and intrusive distressing memories of the event(s), often in the form of flashbacks or nightmares accompanied by a feeling of reliving or re-experiencing the event.

Other commonly developed symptoms, especially among war veterans, are Hyperacusis and Phonophobia. Hyperacusis is a decreased tolerance for loud sounds and Phonophobia is an anxiety disorder, a fear of sound.

The specific sounds that many members of the Armed Forces community living with PTSD are most fearful of are those alike to gunshots or explosions – sounds which are emitted by fireworks.

Helpful Numbers:

Combat Stress – 0800 138 1619

Anxiety UK – 0344 477 5774

Veterans NHS Wales – 0800 132 737

The Royal British Legion – 0808 802 8080

PTSD UK – 01223 755130

  • To obtain FREE ‘Zulu’ Cinema tickets, please contact Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Veteran Advice Service: Telephone: 07747485619 or email

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