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Duke of Cambridge urges us to talk about mental health

The Duke of Cambridge has said that he wants his children to grow up being able to express their feelings.

By Stephanie Otty | Published: 18th April 2017 News Updates

He made the comments in a joint interview with his brother Prince Harry on the subject of men's mental health in CALMzine, a magazine published by one of the Heads Together campaign charity partners.

The Duke of Cambridge cites the importance of role models talking about their mental health and draws on UK grime artist Stormzy as an example.

He says:

"Catherine, Harry and I have all been working through our charitable work with organisations dealing with the military, young people, addiction and homelessness. One thing that was clear to us was how many of these issues have a mental health concern at their root, but people can’t and won’t get help because they are ashamed of what people might think. For me, the tipping point came when I saw the impact of suicide through my work as a helicopter pilot with the East Anglian Air Ambulance. My first call out was to a male suicide and I was told there were five suicides or attempted suicides every day in East Anglia alone. When I looked into it I was shocked by how bad this situation is – suicide is the biggest killer of men under 45 in the UK – which is absolutely appalling. I hope that through Heads Together and with CALM we can show how to tackle this – by helping men feel they can open up about pressures they are going through and get the help they need."

He also criticises what he calls the stiff upper lip culture of not talking about mental health:

"For too long there has been a taboo about talking about some important issues. If you were anxious; it’s because you were 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, do they? But of course – we all do. It’s just that few of us speak about it. Attitudes are changing and this is being helped by high-profile people talking about their experience. Men like Professor Green, Freddie Flintoff and Rio Ferdinand have led the way and made films for Heads Together showing the conversations they have had about pressures on their mental health. The recent interview with Stormzy about his depression was incredibly powerful and will help young men feel that it’s a sign of strength to talk about and look after your mind as well as your body. There may be a time and a place for the ‘Stiff upper lip’, but not at the expense of your health."