Prince calls for mental health conversations

Prince Harry having a closed-door session on mental health with youth mentors Cho Ming Xiu, Nadera Abdul Aziz and four others (not in picture) at the British Ambassador's residence.
Prince Harry having a closed-door session on mental health with youth mentors Cho Ming Xiu, Nadera Abdul Aziz and four others (not in picture) at the British Ambassador's residence.PHOTO: BRITISH HIGH COMMISSION IN SINGAPORE

Don't shy away from talking about mental health, said Prince Harry, in a meeting with young Singaporeans on Sunday.
 

"I think with social media, the Internet and everything else, a lot of false realities are thrown down young people's throats", making them think that everybody's life is perfect, he told a group of six youth mentors at a closed-door session at the British Ambassador's Nassim Road residence.

It was part of his two-day visit, which ended on Monday.

The youth mentors have themselves suffered from mental health issues and have recovered enough to be able to support others in similar situations.

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Some of them are peer support specialists with the Community Health Assessment Team (Chat), a youth mental health and outreach assessment service.

Noting that people tend to be averse to talking about mental health issues, Prince Harry, 32, urged young people here to speak out. "You have to talk about your mental health in order to be mentally fit and, therefore, happy and healthy for the rest of your life."

Last year, he co-launched the Heads Together campaign in Britain to end the stigma surrounding mental health.

The topic is close to his heart. In April, he opened up to the British media about how he sought counselling, after 20 years of bottling up his grief over his mother Princess Diana's death when he was 12.

During Sunday's session, Prince Harry also encouraged the group to create platforms and foundations to broach the topic with friends.

He said: "It's important for guys like you to bang the drum and encourage others. If you can just help one person not have to go through what you went through and suffer in silence, then you've saved a life."

WATCH THE VIDEO

Prince Harry and young Singaporeans discuss mental health. str.sg/4LRr

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 07, 2017, with the headline 'Prince calls for mental health conversations'. Print Edition | Subscribe