- Young boy’s father Lance Corporal Tommy Brown killed in action in 2009
- Soldier was on a foot patrol in Helmand when a bomb went off near him
- Mother had tried to keep his death from her son but he saw it on the news
- Doctors didn’t believe he had PTSD, blaming his change in behaviour on ‘too much Xbox and TV’
A schoolboy developed post-traumatic stress disorder after finding out while watching television that his father had been killed by the Taliban.
The youngster, now 11, learned his father had died in a bomb blast as he watched the news on Christmas Eve six years ago.
The traumatic discovery led to the boy becoming withdrawn and he stopped eating, struggled to sleep and refused to go to school.
A young boy developed post-traumatic stress disorder after finding out his father Tommy Brown, shown, had died fighting the Taliban on television
A message from Tommy Brown’s wife and son adorns tributes laid out in his honour at his funeral
Doctors dismissed his mother’s concerns, saying her son’s symptoms were as a result of him playing on too many video games.
After years of suffering, his diagnosis only came when he was referred to a military medic. His mother, who did not want to be named, said: ‘I remember him crying saying, “Can Santa bring my daddy back, I don’t want my presents. I just want my daddy”.’
Lance Corporal Tommy Brown, a Paratrooper who served with a Special Forces unit, was killed on foot patrol with Afghan troops in Helmand province in 2009.
His wife had been told about his death by the Army but had tried to keep the news secret over Christmas to spare their son’s distress. But on Christmas Eve the youngster saw the news by accident and realised his father was dead.
The schoolboy, who is now 11 years-old, discovered the heartbreaking news of the death of Tommy Brown, shown, six years ago on Christmas Eve
The soldier’s wife had tried to keep his death from her young son over the Christmas period, but she revealed the truth to the boy after a photograph of L/Cpl Brown, middle, appeared on the news
The coffin of Lance Corporal Brown, whose son developed PTSD aftr finding out about his death while watching the news, is draped in the Union Flag
She told the Sun: ‘Explaining it was heartbreaking, it was devastating. The hardest thing I ever had to do was tell my baby his dad was never coming back.’
Her son did not show any symptoms to begin with, but over time became withdrawn and developed face and neck tics.
However, doctors said the twitches were a bad habit he may have picked up after suffering a cold. She added: ‘The doctors kept telling me it was all in his head, they told us it was too much Xbox, too much TV, they told us to get his eyes tested. We told them what had happened, but they said it was nothing to do with that. They were so dismissive.’
The breakthrough finally came in November, when they saw a doctor who happened to work with the military. The mother said: ‘He was fantastic. As soon as he spoke to my son he was convinced it was PTSD, he had seen grown men suffering the same.
A mourner holds an order of service at the funeral of Lance Corporal Tommy Brown, shown right
‘His eyes welled up as he told my son, “This is not your fault”. My boy broke down in tears, it was pure relief.’
The boy was referred to a children’s NHS mental health team for treatment.
He was also supported by Scotty’s Little Soldiers, a charity run by war widow Nikki Scott to support bereaved Forces children.
His mother said he was now a ‘different boy’ and on the road to recovery, adding: ‘I never thought it could happen to a child.
‘I thought you had to be in a war for something like this to affect you.’
Mrs Scott said: ‘We’ve seen an increasing number develop mental health problems and although this is the first case of a child diagnosed with PTSD that we’re aware of, we expect there to be more.’