Moving to Noosa in 2016 to slow down the pace of hectic city life shortly after the birth of their second child was an idyllic location change for founders Andy & Claire Fermo. Noosa ticked all the boxes; being closer to immediate family support, by the ocean and semi-rainforest and allowed them to operate their small businesses remotely.
Their honeymoon period was short-lived. Andy found it difficult to find, secure and reconnect with the mental health support specialists and there was shortage of veteran/first responder ex-service organisations that met his contemporary veteran needs.
His PTSD symptoms worsening, Claire reached out to some close friends who’d founded Breath Me, a holistic modality of “Active Breathing” and meditations to assist Andy whilst he searched for specialists he felt a connection with. It proved to be a life-saver and since become a daily practice.
It was now 2018 and the Fermo’s jumped at the opportunity to secure a family home. The elation was another short-lived moment with a change in circumstances culminating in the loss of their home just-in-time for Christmas with Andy’s mental health and PTSD at an all-time low.
Shocked at being essentially homeless, they took to camping trip in Kilkivan to process everything. One evening by the campfire, Claire mentioned she felt like “Just running away in a caravan.” Andy’s response to the prospect “I was a Special Forces soldier…I’m a fighter and don’t run.”.
A lightbulb moment happened and Claire floated the idea “Why don’t we document your PTSD recovery journey and story, connect and create a resource with the local services, programs, organisations and respite retreats in the area….and then we can replicate it with a PTSD national awareness tour and share the stories of others? That way veterans and first responders don’t have to go through what we have?” Invisible Injuries was born.
To the present, Invisible Injuries is an ACNC registered national charity with DGR status and the Fermo’s are currently realising their goal on their PTSD national awareness tour providing support through connection and ambassadorship to better the mental health and wellbeing of veterans, first responders and their immediate support experiencing PTSD.