UK

Prince Harry Praised For 'Inspiring' Mental Health Revelations By Experts

It's hoped it might lead to 'serious funding' for services.

17/04/2017 21:20 BST

Prince Harry has been praised by mental health experts for revealing that he sought counselling two decades after his mother’s death.

The prince, who was just 12 when Princess Diana died in 1997, told the Daily Telegraph he sought professional help long after her tragic death and that his twenties were “total chaos”.

“Losing my mum at the age of twelve and therefore shutting down all of my emotions for the last twenty years has had a quite serious effect on not only my personal life but my work as well,” the prince said. 

PA Wire/PA Images
Prince Harry opened up about his mental health following the death of his mother Princess Diana

The 32-year-old’s openness was warmly received by campaigners and commentators who said it represented a ‘watershed’ moment in the discussion of mental health in Britain.

Bryony Gordon, who interviewed the prince for her podcast Mad World, told The Huffington Post UK: “The reaction has been incredible.

“A man getting counselling, at the top of the news agenda! I’m so proud to have played a small part in spreading the message that it’s really, really normal to feel weird.”

Gordon, who has had mental health issues and who met the prince last year at an event for his charity campaign Heads Together, added: “I just hope that now other people in positions of authority will take note, and commit to some serious funding for mental health services.”

Sir Simon Wessely, the president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said the prince possessed a unique ability to communicate mental health issues.

“He has a reach across the world that people like me can only dream – he will have communicated in a way that I have been working all my life to achieve,” he said.

Paul Farmer, chief executive of charity Mind, described the interview as ‘inspiring’.

“It’s inspiring to see Prince Harry speaking out about his experiences. It shows how far we have come in changing public attitudes to mental health that someone so high-profile can open up about something so difficult and personal,” he said.

Marjorie Wallace, founder of Sane, added: “It’s done more good than many many campaigns. It’s given a message of hope that feelings left for too long can become malignant – but that it is never too late to seek help.”

Prime Minister Theresa May said Prince Harry’s interview represented a “really important moment” for Britain.

Labour MP Chukka Umunna also praised the prince’s contribution to the debate.

More people are having “life-saving” conversations about their mental health - but men and older people are far less likely to do so, a landmark survey found last month.

Nearly half of us have discussed mental health in the last three months - which was described as a “tipping point” for the issue - and 82% say discussing their own issues was helpful, according to YouGov’s poll, the most comprehensive survey of its kind for 20 years.

The gulf between the sexes is large, with only 37% of men saying they discussed mental health compared with 54% of women. A total of 57% of those aged 18 to 24 had, compared with just 32% of those over 65.

The poll was conducted to coincide with the launch of a series of films for the Heads Together campaign, launched by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry.

The films feature people talking about their mental health, often with the person they first opened up to.

Useful websites and helplines:

  • Mind, open Monday to Friday, 9am-6pm on 0300 123 3393
  • Samaritans offers a listening service which is open 24 hours a day, on 116 123 (UK and ROI - this number is FREE to call and will not appear on your phone bill.)
  • Get Connected is a free advice service for people under 25. Call 0808 808 4994 or email: help@getconnected.org.uk