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‘Look out for each other’ Veteran to speak at mental health event in Norwich

PUBLISHED: 06:00 26 February 2020 | UPDATED: 08:04 26 February 2020

Craig Hill who runs an annual garden party and who will be taking part in the Open Up at Open event on March 6, Picture: Craig Hill

Craig Hill who runs an annual garden party and who will be taking part in the Open Up at Open event on March 6, Picture: Craig Hill

Archant

A former soldier who was diagnosed with PTSD after serving in Afghanistan is encouraging people to look out of one another and seek support.

Open up at OPEN, which is being sponsored by Liam Lambert Construction Ltd will take place on March 6 2020. Picture: ArchantOpen up at OPEN, which is being sponsored by Liam Lambert Construction Ltd will take place on March 6 2020. Picture: Archant

Craig Hill, 30, 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 in Norwich, will cover everything from where to seek mental health advice from to standards of care and real-life stories.

Now, Mr Hill, has shared why he accepted the invitation to take part in the day and why it's so important people look out for each other.

Mr Hill served in the army for five years, in 2007 he was posted to Afghanistan for six months after which he started to develop the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

He said: "I started to experience PTSD, nightmares, my anxiety started to flare up and from there on I really started going down hill to the point where I tried to take my own life."

Mr Hill said a turning point came after he tried to take his own life but was found by the emergency services before he was able to seriously hurt himself.

Since then he has sought support and has hosted a garden party in a bid to raise awareness and money for Norfolk Mind.

He said he felt honoured that he had been asked to take part in Open Up at Open: "It's really important, it gives me a chance to say a lot of things that my friends can't really speak about because they can't really get there in their head to be able to do that.

"I would definitely encourage people to come along, I'm there for support, there will be help, if you know someone, give them a bit of tough love, maybe open up to them or just listen to someone," he said.

You may also want to watch:

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

Need to talk? The Samaritans can be contacted 24/7 by calling 116 123 or be emailing jo@samaritans.org

Open up at Open: The line-up

Open Up at Open will take place at Open in Bank Plain, Norwich, on Friday, March 6 from 8.30am to 6pm.

The day will begin at 9am with a BBC Radio Norfolk breakfast debate, which will be broadcast live from the venue.

Among the panellists will be Sir Norman Lamb, who will also be discussing his mental health grass roots fund in a Q&A with David Powles, editor of the EDP and Evening News, at 10.15am.

From 11.30am to 1.30pm there will be a series of short talks from people who will be sharing personal experiences on the topic of mental health.

Actor Joe Tracini will be the first to speak, followed by former police officer Steve Hunt, blogger Carly Rowena, Darren Eadie and Craig Hill.

At 1.30pm there will be a panel discussion on children's wellbeing, followed by talks on tackling loneliness at 3pm and mental health in the workplace at 4pm.

The day will come to a close at 5pm with a mindfulness and yoga session.

A number of mental health charities and organisation will also be at the event with information about their work and specialisms.

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