It is healthy to talk about mental health issues

Being stoic and silent about mental health – or maintaining the British ‘stiff upper lip’ – is not the way to go about dealing with these issues, Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, has said.

The future king’s comments come soon after his brother, Prince Harry, revealed he sought help after nearly 20 years ‘not thinking about the death of their mother, Diana, Princess of Wales. And the BBC reported that Prince William had also teamed up with pop star Lady Gaga – in a video call they spoke about the importance of people talking about their struggles.

He said he wanted his children to grow up able to express their feelings. Prince William’s comments on the ‘stiff upper lip’ came in an interview – alongside Prince Harry – with a magazine produced by the charity Campaign Against Living Miserably (Calm), which is dedicated to preventing male suicide.

Prince William talked about his ‘tipping point’, which was his exposure to suicide – the biggest killer of men aged under 45 in the UK – through his work as an air ambulance pilot. He told Calm that while there might be a time and a place for the ‘stiff upper lip’, it should not be at the expense of people’s health.

Prince William spoke to Lady Gaga, as part of the Heads Together #oktosay campaign to encourage people to speak out about their mental health challenges. The pair discussed how speaking freely on mental health problems can help shatter the stigma around them.

Lady Gaga said: “There’s a lot of shame attached to mental illness, you feel like something’s wrong with you. In my life I go ‘look at all these beautiful, wonderful things that I have, I should be so happy’. But you can’t help it if in the morning when you wake up you are so tired, so sad, so full of anxiety and the shakes that you can barely think.”

Talking through problems like anxiety, depression, stress and other issues is what clinical hypnotherapy is all about and the National Council for Hypnotherapy has more than 1,800 qualified therapists across the UK who can help people deal with and overcome such issues.

Bottling things up or maintaining that ‘stiff upper lip’ is not the ideal way to deal with mental health issues and, as Prince Harry said, it was not until his late 20s that he processed the grief – after two years of ‘total chaos’ and coming close to a ‘complete breakdown’ – by seeking counselling.

An NCH hypnotherapist, dealing with a person suffering from stress or anxiety, will, through talking with the person, help assess the anxiety and identify the root of stress or anxiety whether it is a situation, a physical issue, a past experience or a relationship.

Then the therapist will set a goal asking how the person would wish to feel, how they would like to be, and things that they would chose to do in your life if free of anxiety. The therapist will then work with the person to reach that goal using a range of different techniques. Every therapist may use slightly different techniques, but working towards the same goal.

Prince Harry admits to feeling nervous as he speaks openly about suffering from anxiety, coming close to a breakdown and being a ‘problem’ for much of his 20s. Prince Harry is this country’s most high profile person yet to talk about his personal mental anguish.

Talking through your problems with a hypnotherapist can unlock the potential you have to break free of negative thought patterns, and to react more positively and more confidently to situations in your life that may have previously made you anxious.