PTSD: getting the right help

DESPERATION was etched in their skeletal faces as they swarmed Sergeant Brett Shearer and his men. 

Women and children, starving from the famine and civil war that gripped Somalia, scrambled for the supplies being handed out by the Australian soldiers. 

But desperation turned to death as a riot broke out and tiny babies were crushed in the melee.

Eighteen years on, Shearer, who also served with the Australian Army in East Timor and Afghanistan, still avoids talking about this food drop. 

He traces the genesis of his post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which was finally diagnosed in 2006, to his time in Somalia. 

“Life was very cheap, in some ways, and the amount of starvation…” he trails off into silence. 

Medically discharged from the army in 2008, Shearer struggled with bouts of extreme anger, depression, nightmares and flashbacks. 

His marriage of 13