Mental health nurses are encouraged to rely heavily upon distraction to help people manage anxiety, depression or the emotional consequences of past trauma. That’s OK so far as it goes but unfortunately it really doesn’t go very far.
Prince Harry has spoken out about his mental health problems following the overwhelming grief he felt as a child trying to cope with the death of his mother, Princess Diana. Like so many other traumatised children the young prince locked his feelings away, hiding from the maelstrom of emotion that threatened to engulf him. By demonstrating the humanity that we all share Prince Harry has illustrated an important point about mental health. Mental disorder is no respecter of persons. Any of us, rich or poor, privileged or otherwise can experience emotional problems and any of us can need help to overcome mental health problems.
So many people seem to have missed the point of Harry’s speech. They can’t see past his privileged status and some even suggest that his wealth and position should somehow protect him from the realities of life and the human condition. They seem to equate psychological vulnerability with wealth. So my question to them is this…
Where do we draw the line? How much money is enough to secure emotional and mental health? How poor does one have to be to experience depression or obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)? What about schizopherenia? Does that only strike poor people too?
You don’t need to be a monarchist to appreciate the truth of Harry’s message. I’m not but I’m still grateful that such an influential young man found the courage to speak out about his early trauma.