It’s not unusual for the Royal Family to be in the news. But this time the reason is unusual. For the first time, two princes have broken protocol and are talking about mental health issues, including their own. They sat with the Duchess of Cambridge and promoted the first-ever mental health marathon, which was held in London on Sunday.
Through the Heads Together campaign, the young royals’ goal is to end the stigma surrounding mental health issues. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 25 percent of the world’s population will have a mental health issue at some point in their lives. As these three discussed the grief of losing a mother, the emotional burden that comes from being the pilot of an air ambulance, and the overwhelming emotions of being a first-time parent, they shared how important conversations are and how important it is to help and seek help.
Their conversation is a reminder that this topic isn’t simply about mental illness, but it is about mental health. Even if you aren’t facing depression (postpartum or otherwise), post-traumatic stress disorder, grief from losing a parent, or anxiety, Jesus tells us that “in this world you will have trouble” (John 16:33). That means the WHO was a little off in its statistic. Actually, 100% of the world’s population will have a mental health issue. If we can count on facing trouble, we can count on stress, hard times, tragedy, fear, and struggle. Call it the blues; maybe you’re in a funk; sometimes you’re just off. Sometimes the cause is biological, and sometimes it’s situational. So this really is about me. This really is about you.
Whatever it is you are facing, paying attention to your mental health will help you cope with the trouble that God says is coming. It will allow you to, whatever you do, work with all of your heart as if you’re working for the Lord. It will allow you to carry one another’s burdens and let others carry yours. It will allow you to serve one another in love.
Today, here are three steps you can take to continue to conversation the Royal Family has started.
- Let yourself acknowledge struggles. Grieve. Mourn. It’s healthy to “sit with it” and not try to whitewash the negative. Remember that you can’t get over it, but you will get through it.
- Reach out—if you need help. So much of social media allows us to feel connected from the comfort of our couches. But get out of your home to meet with people. Go to church. Take a walk. Sit in a coffee shop. Volunteer. Talk to parents in the bleachers. Join a moms group. Sometimes you just need a friend. Other times, you need a mental health professional.
- Reach out—to those who need help. As Prince Harry said, he wants to take his experience and help others in a similar situation. This is what God tells us in 2 Corinthians 1:3-5: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.”
Linda Buxa is a writer and retreat speaker. She is not a member of the Royal Family, but she likes to talk.