Prince William and Harry, sons to famous English Princess Diana, came out this week to talk about how they overcame the fragile mental state the death of their mother left them in.
Harry told of seeking counselling after two years of “total chaos” having spent nearly 20 years of “not thinking” about the death of his mother. He was only 12 when mother was killed in a car crash. However, he said it was not until his late 20s that he processed the grief.
He said he shut down his emotions after her death, which had “a serious effect on not only my personal life, but my work as well”.
His brother William added it was important that role models opened up about their mental health to the public.
Rio Ferdinand, former Manchester United footballer, also talked about his inner struggles and mental suffering in coping with his wife’s death. Ferdinand lost his wife Rebecca to breast cancer in 2015.
These three are just a few of the many UK celebrities highlighting the importance of talking openly about mental health and encouraging young people, especially, that it is normal to talk about one’s emotions.
The stigma surrounding mental health is world over. We still think people who are wrestling with mental illnesses like depression and anxiety are weak. And when one finds themselves unable to handle mental issues like stress and anxiety, they supress these things, or resort to alcohol and drug abuse, hostility or withdrawal from friends and family.
Research confirms that men have a culture of shouldering pain alone. Most likely, we never seek the support of our friends, family or even admit we are struggling emotionally.
Women seem to fare better in talking to others when they are experiencing emotional challenges. A man will suffer quietly for up to two years before even thinking of opening up to pals.
In the UK, a campaign to change these attitudes is on. Prime Minister Theresa May praised the decision of the royal boys to speak out to change attitudes and bring an end to the stigma around mental health.
The government hopes to sink up to £1.4 billion to ensure young people get the help and support they need. Why the big concern?
Our mental state affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle difficult situations and relate to others. The media attention on the topic by these celebrities opened my eyes to a thing or two.
I must admit that being the learned and exposed fella I believe I am, any mention of mental health issues only brought up pictures of naked mad folks to my mind. The kind of folks we find unkempt and eating from rubbish bins. How off the mark!
Many a societal issue like alcoholism, domestic violence, police brutality and gambling could all boil down to the state of one’s mental health. These things need talking about more and more.