It’s been some time since my last blog but I really had to say something about Prince Harry (and indeed Prince William and his lovely wife) and the courageous and groundbreaking decision to speak out about mental health and the stigma attached. Harry’s own decision to have sought counselling after 20 years of silence, and his subsequent willingness to talk about that, is going to have the biggest impact on this Country’s attitude to mental health ever.
I remember the day his mum (Princess Diana) died. I think everyone does! I had just completed my own 3 years of counsellor training. I was pregnant with my eldest daughter. I broke my heart. The outpouring of grief across the World was fairly unprecedented. But I empathised more than many – like Prince William I had lost my mum at 15 and my little brother had been slightly younger than Harry when she died – tragically young – like Diana.
The pain I suffered and the lack of support available has influenced many of my career choices and decisions. I would never want anybody to suffer as I did, without anywhere to release that pain safely. So I have counselled and mentored and been chaplain in many situations across the full range of age and gender. Yet here we are nearly 40 years on from my loss and nearly 20 years on from William & Harry’s and still we live in stiff upper lip Britain! You wouldn’t hesitate to go and get your broken arm mended …. But sometimes it is our minds that need mending!
It is wonderful that people in sport and media and film and television are beginning to speak up and out. However, the Royal support for the mental health charity ‘Heads together’ will make a significant difference, I believe.
The most vulnerable group for suicide is 17-25 year old males. Harry is viewed as ‘a bit of a lad’ – if he can admit his need for some support then this will hopefully enable others, particularly young men, to be courageous enough to do so, too. His courage WILL save lives!
As part of my business one of the services I offer is a confidential listening service for ‘the boss.’ It is a bespoke service designed to support the business owner/Chief Executive. It is tailor made for the individual – using the combination of my training in counselling, mentoring, chaplaincy, coaching and leadership. I am hoping that Prince Harry’s actions will enable many more in positions of responsibility and authority to realise that it is #okaytotalk.
So, if you are in a role where confidentiality is important and it isn’t appropriate to talk to others within the workplace; if you don’t want to go home and talk to your partner about work; if you want to be the best and most effective, happiest version of you; or perhaps there are issues you haven’t dealt with from the past; or there are current things preventing you from reaching your full potential please do get in touch and let’s get our ‘Heads together’ – as it says on my website – “I can help”
And finally, thank you Harry! Your mum would be so, so proud of you (& your brother.)