Photo Credit: Kensington Palace
One of the biggest strides forward in the mental health movement has been the willingness of models, movie stars, and other celebrities to speak up about it. More and more big names are joining the conversation, from singer Zayn Malik to model Cara Delevingne.
Standing proudly and prominently among them is Prince Harry, who is now leading the charge to make sure people serving in the U.K.’s military have the access they need to mental health resources.
The prince, who spent 10 years in the British army, has partnered with the U.K.’s Ministry of Defense to promote mental health awareness and support for all service members. He said at a news conference that retiring from day-to-day service “allowed me to think carefully about how we prepare, support, and care for those who wear the uniform.”
“For too long, acknowledging emotion or challenging thoughts was seen as counterproductive to the fundamental characteristics of the Armed Forces,” he said. “Today, we are saying that taking mental health seriously is what professional and dedicated servicemen and women must do to be above the rest and leading from the front.”
“Crucially, fighting fitness is not just about physical fitness. It is just as much about mental fitness too.”
It’s not the first time Harry has spoken up about the need to take mental health seriously. The 33-year old prince made headlines when he revealed the lingering effects of his grief following his mother’s death in 1997. Together with his brother, William, and sister-in-law, Kate — the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge — he has also launched the Heads Together program, continuing his mother’s legacy of boosting mental health awareness.
In the United States, about 20 percent of veterans who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan suffer with major depression or PTSD, and 19.5 percent of veterans who suffer from either have also experienced TBIs. Many veterans face challenges getting the help they need, and the odds are stacked further against female veterans especially, research shows.
As more attention is brought to these conditions and the people who live with them, perhaps the days of suffering in silence will soon be no more. Until then, as the saying goes: Give ’em hell, Harry.
Kareem Yasin is a writer and editor at Healthline. Outside of health and wellness, he is active in conversations about inclusivity in mainstream media, his homeland of Cyprus, and the Spice Girls. Reach him on Twitter or Instagram.