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Former police office who developed PTSD encourages people to attend mental health event

PUBLISHED: 12:14 19 February 2020 | UPDATED: 12:14 19 February 2020

DC Steve Hunt has been diagnosed with PTSD after four years working on the child abuse unit in Norfolk Police. Picture: Steve Hunt

DC Steve Hunt has been diagnosed with PTSD after four years working on the child abuse unit in Norfolk Police. Picture: Steve Hunt

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A former detective who developed post traumatic stress disorder while investigating the disturbing world of online child abuse has said he hopes sharing his experience can help others.

Steve Hunt, will be one of a number of people sharing personal stories about how mental ill health has affected them at the Open Up at Open event on March 6.
Photo: Steve HuntSteve Hunt, will be one of a number of people sharing personal stories about how mental ill health has affected them at the Open Up at Open event on March 6. Photo: Steve Hunt

Steve Hunt will be one of a number of people sharing personal stories about how mental ill health has affected them at the Open Up at Open event on March 6.

The free to attend event, which will take place at Open in Norwich, will cover everything from where to seek mental health advice to standards of care and real-life stories.

Mr Hunt joined Norfolk Consabulary's online child sexual abuse team at its inception in 2014, before spending the next few years poring over disturbing images, trying to identify both victims and offenders.

His ability to recognise faces saw many offenders put behind bars but it also took its toll, and while working for the team he developed PTSD.

Steve Hunt, who has retired after 27 years in the police force and three years in the Royal Navy. Photo: Steve HuntSteve Hunt, who has retired after 27 years in the police force and three years in the Royal Navy. Photo: Steve Hunt

Mr Hunt, who is now retired from the force, said he hoped sharing his experience of realising something was wrong would enable others to help themselves or support friends, family and colleagues.

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He said: "If I can share a lived experience then maybe other people will feel like they are not on their own, at the time [I was struggling] I was in a very macho environment and it was quite difficult.

"Everybody is different, everybody's situation is different but I think talking about it and hearing from different walks of life is important."

Mr Hunt said when speaking to those who were experiencing mental ill health, others should remember those who are suffering may not recognise they are unwell.

"I think what is always important is that the people who are checking in have some sort of awareness because in the early stages of any mental health illness awareness might not be there. It's about being able to look out of the signs," he said.

Encouraging people to attend the event on March 6, Mr Hunt said: "You might recognise some of the things that are being talked about in yourself and that might get you thinking or if it's not about yourself it might get you thinking about someone you know.

"It's worth 15 minutes of anybody's time," he said.

For more information on the day, head to the Open Up at Open Facebook page.


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