Prince Harry recently spoke about the impact that the death of his mother had on him when he was 12 years old. In conversation with footballer Rio Ferdinand he said that he had avoided talking about her death for the first 28 years of his life, but when he had been able to talk about it, it had helped him a great deal.
“it’s okay to suffer, but as long as you talk about it. It’s not a weakness. Weakness is having a problem and not recognising it and not solving that problem.”
Harry was at a barbeque at Kensington Palace in aid of the charity Heads Together, and went on to say that “anyone can suffer from mental health problems, whether you’re a member of the Royal Family, whether you’re a soldier, whether you’re a sports star, whether you’re a team sport, individual sport, whether you’re a white van driver, whether you’re a mother, father, a child, it doesn’t really matter.”
This is such a brilliant message, and helps to challenge the stigma that surrounds mental health. The tragedy is that mental health issues can strike so randomly, regardless of a person’s wealth, or social standing, or how many friends they have, or how good life is in general. If and when we do encounter problems of the mind, we must try and remember that it isn’t a sign of weakness.
Of course ‘talking about it’ doesn’t solve serious problems overnight (if only it were that simple), but being able to open up about what is going on inside your head can go a long way to beginning the healing process. It’s also important to remember that grief is messy and a deeply individual process. There is no timetable to it. We all work on different time scales and it may be that, like Harry, it takes a while to get to a place where it feels okay to talk.