Sunday 22 October 2017

I was doing my bit to smash health stigma - Harry

Prince Harry helps hand out race numbers and headbands as he officially opens this year’s Virgin Money London Marathon Expo Picture: PA/Getty
Prince Harry helps hand out race numbers and headbands as he officially opens this year’s Virgin Money London Marathon Expo Picture: PA/Getty

Tony Jones

Prince Harry has said it was "only right" to speak about his problems coping with his mother's death because he wanted to encourage others to "smash that stigma" around talking about mental health.

The 32-year-old reflected on his decision to speak openly about the counselling he sought as he visited the London Marathon Expo to officially open the event and meet charity runners.

The British prince, who was just 12 when Diana, Princess of Wales, was killed in a car crash in Paris on August 31, 1997, said of his mother: "I think from her perspective she would be overwhelmed and hugely encouraged by the fact that the UK - not known for wanting to talk about mental health issues - has suddenly got to this point."

The London Marathon has made the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Harry's mental health campaign Heads Together its official charity, and - when he cut the ribbon to launch the Expo - five-year-old Melissa Howse, whose father Tony is running on Sunday, was on hand to help.

In an interview with the 'Daily Telegraph', Harry revealed he spent nearly 20 years "not thinking" about his mother's death and eventually got help after two years of "total chaos".

After handing out registration packs to runners, which included their official number, timing chip and a Heads Together headband, he said: "I've shared just as much as everybody else has during this campaign.

"And after how many years of listening to stories from veterans and their families and then specifically in this campaign, William, Catherine and I hearing some of the most heart-wrenching stories based around what people have experienced and then the mental anguish that's happened from then.

"It was only right to share my experiences to hope to encourage others to come forward and smash that stigma, to make it easier for them to talk about their own experiences - so I was just doing my bit. When you've heard so many stories from so many other people and if you can relate to that then it's only right that you talk about your own experiences."

Irish Independent

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