Even Prince Harry wants to do it!
And he’s not the only one…
His brother says when he, Harry and Kate initially asked other well known names to do it they were shunned!
What did they want to do?
Talk about mental illness…reduce the stigma and get others talking too!
Back in 2017, when the Princes began uniting different mental health agencies in the UK to form Heads Together, they approached many celebrities to ask for their help in bringing mental health conversations into the open.
Speaking at the Davos World Economic Forum, William said that "a lot" of stars were approached, but none wanted to be associated with mental illness.
Thankfully, we have moved on a bit since then. Bravely, people from all walks of life are feeling more able to open up and share their stories. Everyone from Lady GaGa,
"Yet despite the universality of the issue, we struggle to talk about it openly or to offer adequate care or resources. Within families and communities, we often remain silenced by a shame that tells us that those with mental illness are somehow less worthy or at fault for their own suffering."
Destiny’s Child’s Michelle Williams,
"For years I have dedicated myself to increasing awareness of mental health and empowering people to recognize when it's time to seek help…I recently listened to the same advice I have given to thousands around the world and sought help from a great team of healthcare professionals.”
and Maria Carey
“Until recently I lived in denial and isolation and in constant fear someone would expose me. It was too heavy a burden to carry, and I simply couldn’t do that anymore. I sought and received treatment, I put positive people around me…”
Emma Stone, Gisele, Ariana Grande, Britney Spears…the list now goes on and on.
But why is this so important?
Most people do not seek help with mental health issues. Unbelievably, Beyond Blue report that 37 % of those who sought professional support for anxiety had been experiencing symptoms for longer than 12 months before getting support, almost one in five waited longer than six years!
Incredible to think that people are suffering for so long without help - believing that it will either clear by itself or that their issue, whilst impacting the quality of their life and those around them, isn’t actually serious enough!
Yet 93% of those who had professional support found the support useful!
So the message is really simple - getting help is really effective at making a change, and speaking up is the first step to getting help.
I’m delighted to see this shift! I never spoke up whilst in the workplace to even my friends about my own struggles. Whilst I knew depression wasn’t my fault, I still felt weak and ashamed that I wasn’t able to snap out of it, pull myself together and ‘get over myself’. My problem’s were so first world that they shouldn’t affect me. The fact that they did, was what caused the shame.
Nowadays I have no problem admitting my susceptibility to depression. I recognize the signs in myself and I know how to work on helping myself avoid the worst. But that has taken time, effort, acceptance and help. Help from my family, help from professionals and a willingness to help myself! If I had stayed at work, I know they too would have helped me - but I did what so many do to avoid having to tell, I left!
Nowadays I not only talk openly about my mental health but encourage others to do so too.
Although, I know that people are not always sure how to open up. How do you admit that things are not great?
Exactly like that!
Tell them, “Actually, things are not great”.
Let them listen, let them lean in to you and ask more. When they do ask more, just share whatever bit you feel comfortable sharing. It doesn’t have to be everything. Just telling someone that you’re not OK is a huge start at first, believe me - I KNOW!
Don’t suffer in silence. Don’t wait years believing it will just go! Seek help…remember the stats…93% who had professional support said it was useful. Speak up - the numbers are on your side!
For more information on seeking help and mental health conversations see:
Lifeline call: 13 11 14
Jo O’Donovan is the founder of Workplace Relationships, based in Melbourne. She works with companies to increase their productivity through focusing on their culture, people and relationships. Jo has a particular passion for improving the mental health of employees through developing the human connections within organisations and her new online course on Mental Health In The Workplace can be accessed here.
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