A Soldier from the Royal Engineers who served alongside Prince Harry in Afghanistan is thought to have killed himself after suffering from PTSD.
WO2 Nathan Hunt, 39, was found dead at his home in Lincoln last week after telling colleagues he was struggling with depression.
The father of one, who was decorated for his service in Helmand Province, had also reportedly complained about the care and treatment he had been receiving from the Ministry of Defence, after developing mental health problems following his service.
Following his 2008 tour he received a Mention in Dispatches for his courage and professionalism.
But it is understood he was later diagnosed with a stress related condition believed to have been caused by his frontline experiences.
Prince Harry, who worked with WO2 Hunt in a desert reconnaissance unit, has written a private letter of condolence to the family.
A former colleague told the Mail on Sunday that WO2 Hunt had been unhappy about the treatment he had been receiving from the Army.
The soldier said: “Nathan was a cracking bloke who saved a lot of lives in Afghanistan. He fought the demons in his head for years but it seems they won in the end.
“He said recently at a get-together for veterans that the care he was receiving for his condition was useless and he was thinking of getting out of the Army.”
While the exact circumstances of his death on January 2 remained unclear, an inquest is expected to open later this month.
An Army spokesperson said:
“We can confirm that Warrant Officer Class 2 Nathan Hunt of 75 Engineer Regiment died on the 2nd of January 2018 and our thoughts are with his family and friends at this difficult time. The circumstances of his death are currently being investigated and it would be inappropriate to comment further.”
Last year Prince Harry launched an initiative with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge called ‘Heads Together’ with the aim to end stigma around mental health in the UK.
The project is a partnership between several charities including Contact, a collaboration of military support organisations; YoungMinds, a charity that helps children and young people suffering from mental health problems; and Best Beginnings, which supports the mental health of pregnant women and new mothers.
Under the scheme members of the military are encouraged to take their mental health as seriously as their physical fitness.
He has spoken candidly about his own issues following the death of his mother and last year revealed that he had sought counselling in his late twenties.
In 2016 the military mental health charity Combat Stress reported a surge in the number of referrals of veterans suffering from problems associated with depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
An MOD spokesperson said:
“We take the mental health of our Armed Forces community extremely seriously, and we work tirelessly to ensure our troops and veterans receive the care they deserve.
“We are committed to tackling the stigma of mental illness and have launched a new partnership with the Royal Foundation to improve training and education alongside our Health and Wellbeing strategy.”
WO2 Hunt’s death is the second tragedy to hit Prince Harry’s desert squad. In March 2013, Corporal James Dunsby, 31 died after collapsing during a Special Air Service selection march in the Brecon Beacons.
Numbers to call.
If you or anyone you know is suffering from mental health issues then please call one of the numbers below.
SAMARITANS: available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year: samaritans.org. If you need a response immediately. ☎ 116 123 (UK) 116 123 (ROI)
MIND: the mental health charity: mind.org.uk. ☎ 0300 123 3393
COMBAT STRESS: For Veterans and their families – 24hr Helpline. ☎ 0800 138 1619