Prince Harry Sheds Light Mental Health Issues and Encourages Others To Speak Up

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Wednesday 19th April 2017

Prince Harry has become the highest profile figure in the UK to speak out over his mental health issues and the grief that was repressed for nearly twenty years over the death of his mother, Diana, Princess of Wales.

The fourth in line to the throne of Great Britain, Prince Harry spoke openly about his struggles with mental health and processing his traumas in an interview with the Telegraph newspaper, as well as an interview with himself and his brother Prince William, published in a magazine published by the Campaign Against Living Miserably- a charity dedicated to stopping male suicide.

In the interview, Prince Harry admits that he had buried his head in the sand until his late twenties, and it was only after two years of what he describes as “total chaos” and a near “complete breakdown” that he sought counselling and help, something that has helped him find a better place mentally.

Prince Harry spoke out on his determination to not think about his mother after his loss at the age of 12, and the emotional toll that took on his life. He spoke of the “serious effect” on not only his personal life but also his work, nearing a breakdown. He also admitted his struggles with aggression and how he took up boxing to let it out.

It took the encouragement of his brother to finally seek help and support, and finally learning to talk honestly and openly about his feelings, and encouraging people who are also struggling with mental health issues to speak their mind. Prince William in other interviews also shared this mindset, mentioning that the classic British idea of the “stiff upper lip” was not helpful when it caused people to not talk about their struggles and caused hurt, and also talked about the importance of people and role models to open up about their mental health. Prince Harry’s interview comes in the wake of stars such as Lady Gaga and Stormzy also discussing their mental health concerns.

This is a positive step to open up about dealing with unimaginable grief. There is unfortunately still a great stigma surrounding mental health issues, with the expectation of people to keep their struggles closed off and not to seek help, otherwise be considered a lesser person. It is a mentality that has damaged and ended lives and is a mindset that needs to end.

The more public figures open up about their struggles, the less of a taboo or stigma can be attached to mental health issues, and the less behaviours that serve to negatively affect people’s mental health are seen as acceptable. While this is only a small piece of the mental health puzzle, with ensuring that there is substantial funding for mental health care, clearly signposted for people who need it most being a major priority. Often when healthcare provision is discussed, mental health is something that is seen as less of a priority. This needs to change.