The United Kingdom is full of admiration and respect for The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Henry (Harry) for their initiative to eliminate the stigma about depression and mental health.
It is approaching twenty years since the death Their Royal Highnesses’ mother Diana, Princess of Wales and the Princes are spearheading The Heads Together campaign to raise awareness and change the national conversation about mental wellbeing.
Prince Harry joined journalist Bryony Gordon, who has suffered mental ill-being, on the first of her Mad World podcasts to highlight that different problems in youth or adolescence can be triggers for mental issues in later life and that staying silent can kill. Bryony quotes 1 in 4 people in UK have experienced a dark period. His Royal Highness confessed that after losing his mother at the age of 12, he had shut down his feelings for 20 years and this had seriously impacted his personal life and his work. He said that the right conversation can unravel the issues and following his conversations with a “shrink”, he now he can share and comfort the issues of others, particularly those from the armed forces. Prince Harry advocates the sharing of problems, exercise and nature as an antidote to stress, melancholy and despair.
Prince Harry participated in the Veterans Mental Health Conference at Kings College to encourage an open attitude to mental health; serving military personal are twice more likely to experience a common mental health problem than the working population and on average veterans wait twelve years after leaving military service before seeking help from combat stress.
Depression can lead to panic attacks, homeless and addiction, Their Royal Highness’ brave effort to promote mental health.
Celebrities from all walks of life have been brought together on video to talk about loss, bereavement and anxiety and the difficulties individuals face in sharing their grief and sorrow. Professional footballer Rio Ferdinand opened up about losing his wife, Rapper Professor Green is heart wrenchingly honest in his chat with Freddie Flintoff former captain of the England cricket team; comedian Stephen Fry who has often spoken about his suicidal feelings of pointlessness. Dr William Shanahan told Fry that one conversation can make all the difference. Under the hashtag #oktosay Prince William had a skype chat with Lady Gaga, His Royal Highness congratulated the superstar on her open letter admitting to PTSD (Post-traumatic Stress Disorder) and how she had felt shame for feeling depressed. Prince William was touchingly empathetic and his message to others suffering is to reach out, it is important to talk, to know you are not alone and that you will not be judged for your feelings.
Depression can lead to panic attacks, homeless and addiction, Their Royal Highness’ brave effort to promote mental health as being as important as physical health is the reason why more than 700 Heads Together runners will take part in Virgin Money’s London Marathon on Sunday 23rd April. All 39,000 runners will be given a blue Heads Together headband, to wear with wear their chosen charity vest, to help make 2017 the “Mental Health Marathon”. The Duke and Duchess and Prince Harry will meet a number of the Heads Together runners before the race in the Blue Start area, before cheering on runners along the 26.2 mile route. Their Royal Highnesses will hand out medals to some of the charity runners as they cross the finish line. Prince Harry, as Patron of the London Marathon Charitable Trust, will make the official presentations to the winners of the elite men, women, and wheelchair races.
There can be no doubt that these courageous young Royals putting their three heads together will make a difference, particularly to men who typically suffer in silence. The Heads Together campaign with its many charitable partners, covering a wide range of mental health issues, will be officially launched on 16 May.