‘Alex was not given support that he deserved for PTSD’

A ROYAL MARINE from Guernsey who took his own life was failed by mental health services and the military after he returned from serving in Afghanistan, his family have said.

Alex Tostevin pictured in Afghanistan in 2016. (Picture supplied by Alison Tostevin) (30241668)
Alex Tostevin pictured in Afghanistan in 2016. (Picture supplied by Alison Tostevin) (30241668)

Corporal Alex Tostevin was 28 when he died in March 2018.

An inquest into his death held in the UK heard that there were several missed opportunities to reassess his situation.

Although he was never formally diagnosed, his family believed he developed post-traumatic stress disorder while serving with the Marines in Afghanistan in 2010.

During that time he was mentioned in dispatches after he was shot in the head while on sentry duty at a patrol base but dismissed it as ‘just a little scratch’ and shot at the insurgents’ position, giving cover fire allowing two Marines stranded outside the base to reach safety.

A funeral service for him was held at the Vale Church and he received full military honours.

The inquest was told that Cpl Tostevin had been left with only a list of phone numbers for support, but the coroner said that he was not neglected by his superiors or military mental health staff.

But a psychiatrist said that the people who checked up on him were not trained in mental health.

An email sent by a welfare officer about a sharp deterioration of Cpl Tostevin’s mental health in the days before his death was not picked up.

The coroner recorded a verdict of suicide and said there had been a missed opportunity following information given three days before he died.

He intended to write a report making three recommendations, including one looking at the risk of under-reporting of mental health issues by service personnel.

In a statement, Cpl Tostevin’s mother, Alison, said he had been asking for help for a long time and they felt he was failed.

‘He wasn’t satisfied with the help he was receiving and looked elsewhere but was ordered not to attend the appointment he made with [mental health support group] Rock2Recovery,’ she said.

‘He was not given the support he needed or deserved.

‘We want to thank those who loved our son Alex, colleagues and friends, who did all they could to help him.’

They hoped more members of the forces would talk about mental health and said Cpl Tostevin would not have wanted anyone to suffer the way he had.

‘We strongly believe that Alex was suffering from undiagnosed PTSD.

‘Alex told all those involved in his care that he was unwell and suffering and we believe the care that he received was inadequate.’

They hoped he would be remembered as he was in his life, ‘a highly skilled, dedicated, and respected soldier, a loyal friend, fun-loving, generous, kind and larger than life in every way – the best son, brother, grandson, colleague and friend anyone could ever have’.

‘We miss Alex so much. We love Alex and will miss him until the day we die – and not until that day will we stop saying his name.’

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