23 May The Royals: True Advocates For Mental Health Care
Last weekend’s royal wedding went off without a hitch. It was a beautiful day filled with many touching moments, and it will also be known as the most inclusive and diverse wedding in the history of the royal family.
In the weeks and months to come, Prince Harry and Princess Meghan will likely be defining the role that they plan to take in terms of philanthropic efforts. But it’s clear that Princess Meghan will be an active proponent of causes that she cares for. The BBC reported that, after announcing the engagement, she said, “What’s been really exciting, as we talk about this as the transition out of my career… is that the causes that have been very important to me, I can focus even more energy on.”
Among her current activities, she has already been a global ambassador for World Vision, which works to help children, families, and their communities reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice.
But Meghan Markle’s advocacy work came long before she was a princess. At just 11 years old, after seeing a sexist TV ad, she wrote letters to Hillary Clinton, Linda Ellerbee, Gloria Allred, and the company responsible for the ad. According to Harper’s Bazaar, Markle received replies from all three women, and the soap company changed the wording in the commercial.
For his part, Prince Harry has spoken passionately on many issues, with one of them being mental health. Along with his brother and sister-in-law, Prince Harry created the Heads Together organization, which advocates for open discussion and better services for people in need of mental health care. (click here for a video of Prince William, Princess Kate and Prince Harry discussing the issue).
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry said:
“Since we launched Heads Together last May, we have seen time and time again that shattering stigma on mental health starts with simple conversations. When you realise that mental health problems affect your friends, neighbours, children and spouses, the walls of judgement and prejudice around these issues begin to fall. And we all know that you cannot resolve a mental health issue by staying silent.”
In a personal story in Britain’s Metro News on May 19, the day of the wedding, a parent wrote a touching article about what it’s like to have a child in need of mental health care. You can read the entire piece here, but below are some excerpts.
“We were naive at the beginning. We assumed that getting help for our son’s mental health issues would be straight forward and trusted the system. After all, if it was a broken leg we would have taken him to A&E and the wait for help would take hours rather than months and months. That sounds flippant, of course they are completely different, but the months rolled on and eventually I gave up and called the pediatrician’s office. ‘You haven’t dropped off the radar’ we were told. It definitely felt like we had. At seven, my son developed a neurological condition which came with comorbids – for him, it included OCD, anxiety, and depression.
In an ideal world, waiting lists will be halved at least. Every school would have a mental health practitioner, and appointments would take place on site meaning no more half days off school for appointments. I think having care available in school would make children feel less ‘different’ as having to take half days for hospital visits means missing out on school work and inevitably leads to being questioned by schoolmates about where they’ve been.
Classes looking at mental health, well-being and how to manage your own mental health would be introduced from a young age. These children need to know how to cope but also that they’re no different, many people have issues with their mental health, that it’s not shameful or embarrassing. They are normal.”
Want to get involved in advocating against stigma, or need help? Follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/NSCFGC/, or call (516) 626-1971 for an appointment.