Editorial: Harry's Mission

5 June 2017 Amy Hetherington

Editorial: Harry's Mission

Just two weeks shy of his 13th birthday, Prince Harry lost his mother. The ginger-haired boy in an oversized black suit is one of the most poignant images from Princess Diana’s public funeral; Harry looks so small, vulnerable, as he stoically contains his grief.

Now, almost 20 years later, Harry has opened up about this suppressed grief, revealing he “shut down” emotionally, and felt “very close to a complete breakdown on numerous occasions”.
Harry says he’s now in a “good place” after seeking help from family, mates and professionals at the age of 28.

“Once you start talking about it, you suddenly realise that actually you’re part of quite a big club,” Harry told The Telegraph journalist Bryony Gordon.

Indeed, mental illness doesn’t discriminate. There are three million Australians living with anxiety and depression. In this edition, we speak with two men about their personal battles with mental illness; Big Issue vendor Ben G and TV host Osher Günsberg.

Like Harry, they hope speaking out will encourage others to do the same. There is a power in sharing our stories. Talking openly about our experiences with mental health helps to shatter the stigma and silence still attached to it. For many, it can be the catalyst for getting help.

Mental health is always an important conversation, and one we’re highlighting during Men’s Health Week (12–18 June). Why? Because we’re losing 44 men a week to suicide, and it remains the number one killer of Australian men under the age of 54. We know there is a link between suicide and mental illness in many cases, yet many men still find it difficult to ask for help when they need it most.

As Harry said: “What we are trying to do is normalise the conversation to the point where anyone can sit down and have a coffee and just go ‘you know what, I’ve had a really shit day, can I just tell about it?’”

Amy Hetherington, Editor
If you need help call Lifeline on 13 11 14

This article first appeared in Ed#538 of The Big Issue.