Heads Together: permission to open up

Royal Family campaign can bring our heads together

Prince Hary

Photograph: WPA Pool/Getty Images

Many of you will have seen the recent press coverage around Prince Harry’s candid interview in The Telegraph. He openly talks about his struggle with grief over his mother’s death for 20 years which caused him points of near breakdown. Crucially, he talked about how the ‘stiff upper lip’ approach simply didn’t work and how it was his work with a counsellor that meant he could move on in a positive way. Whether you’re a Royalist or not, there’s little doubt that Prince Harry’s bravery and honesty about his mental health should be celebrated.

The reaction from the media and public in relation to Prince Harry’s disclosure has been overwhelming. Prince William has publicly followed his brother’s lead in emphasising the importance of opening up about our struggles and even had the fabulous Lady Gaga speak about her experiences. Praise has rained down on the Royals in light of their Heads Together campaign; aimed at ending the stigma around mental health issues.

In British society, where so few things seem to remain a taboo, I still find it astonishing that it takes swathes of media time and high profile figures to open up a dialogue about mental health issues. For many people, hearing the personal struggles of high profile figures will give them the permission slip they somehow felt they needed before getting the help they need.

Openness and connection

I recently ran a workshop for mothers to help with calm and confidence. A recurring theme of our discussion was lack of honesty. There was a sense that everyone was pretending life was tickety-boo and hated admitting that they were struggling. The ladies I worked with were frustrated at being shut down in their attempts to be honest. Due to this lack of openness they felt increasingly isolated and alone; that they were the ‘only ones’ to be struggling with low mood, low energy, resentment, anger or sadness. When we all admitted to each other that we felt the same way the sense of relief, comfort and connection was palpable.

What we often don’t seem to realise is that openness and connection with our fellow man goes hand in hand. When we hide away our true thoughts and feelings they isolate us and often take on a power that they wouldn’t have if we had just been able to share them and move on.

What unites us

The truth is we are all fellow strugglers. It is our weakness and vulnerability that unites us as human beings. Once we really understand that, it can be the first step in opening up a constructive dialogue about our difficulties and getting the help that we need. I hope that the Royals’ campaign can start a revolution whereby talking about our difficulties can be the ‘new normal’. Because we know burying our head in the sand simply doesn’t work.

Seeing someone to help you through a difficult time isn’t just for high profile figures or the wealthy; its for everyone. In time I hope we can normalise therapy so that it can be as every day as checking in with your doctor or dentist. Its not something you would need all the time, but very helpful to have now and again.

Get in touch

If you would like to explore getting the help you need, why not contact me today. We can explore what you want to change in a safe context, free from judgement.

28 April 2017