Heads Together to improve mental health awareness
Prince William knows plenty about coping with what life throws at you. At a recent talk on Anxiety, he said, ‘The suicide rate among young men in our country is an appalling stain on our society. Suicide is the biggest killer of young men under 40 in this country, not cancer, not knife crime, not road deaths. If one of these other issues took as many young lives there would be a national outcry. But there’s only ever been silence and this has to stop. This silence is killing good people.’
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry are fronting the Heads Together campaign to get people talking about mental health and to destigmatise it. The campaign is working with eight mental health charities and is the Charity of the Year at the 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon.
Prince William spoke to health writers at a Guild of Health Writers’ meeting on Anxiety. ‘Mental health is the great taboo. If you’re anxious, it’s because you’re weak. If you couldn’t cope with whatever life threw at you it’s because you were failing. Successful strong people don’t suffer like that. But of course we all do. It’s just that few of us speak about it.
‘You need to ask, “Are you OK?”. Then properly listen to the answer. It’s perfectly OK to talk up and say if you can’t cope. It’s a sign of strength, not weakness, talking about problems,’ he stressed.
Other speakers emphasised the need for people under pressure to talk to someone they trust, take part in physical activity, learn mindfulness, and get involved in peer support either online or in established groups. Claire Kelly of Mindfulness in Schools, explained how they go into schools at senior and junior level all over the country, train teachers in mindfulness so that they can pass it on to pupils. The aim is for the children to become aware of how they are thinking and feeling in both their mind and body. Research has shown that children’s wellbeing predicts their future success.