Veteran who started painting to cope with PTSD launches his own new business

A veteran from London has launched a new business which helps him cope with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Emlyn Rowe, originally from Boston in Lincolnshire, served in the Royal Navy as an Able Seaman for four and a half years and was a warfare specialist. After leaving the forces because of PTSD he struggled to acclimatise to everyday society and eventually became homeless.

With the support of two veterans’ charities, the SSAFA and Veterans’ Aid, he was able to get a place at a rehabilitation centre in South East London. It was here that he found healing through art, which gave him the inspiration to set up his new business, Abstract M Studio.

Emlyn said: “Getting help from the SSAFA and Veterans’ Aid was a real lifesaver for me and I am so grateful to them for their continued support. They helped with clothes and accommodation and found me my place at a rehabilitation centre.

“When I pick up a paint brush I can just paint what I feel. It is incredibly therapeutic and really helps me cope. It’s often difficult to put how I’m feeling into words but painting has given me an outlet so that I can express my emotions. I can also track the journey I’ve been on, it’s all there in my work, from the initial dark days to the brighter and calmer ones.

“I was so surprised that people started asking me if they could buy my paintings. It was a massive confidence boost. Someone then suggested I set up my own business selling my paintings online.

“It wasn’t something I had ever really considered, but I can now reach a much wider audience. I am most comfortable when I’m standing in front of my easel, so this is the perfect solution for me and continues my road to recovery.”

Since leaving rehab, Emlyn has now joined the ‘Op Courage’ NHS mental health programme, which provides specialist care for veterans. He hopes that by sharing his story, it will shine a light on the “power of art to heal”.

By Matthew Neville – Senior Correspondent, Bdaily

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