Prince Harry has spent much of the last year urging people to be more open about mental health challenges. So it was only fitting that he would honor someone who has spoken up about the issue on Monday night.
Harry, 33, handed over the Speaking Out award at the ceremony, which recognizes the best portrayals of mental health across broadcast, print and digital media.
Run by a leading charity, the 24th Virgin Money Media Mind Media Awards highlights examples of good practice and people who have worked closely with program makers and journalists in the ongoing effort to improve representations of mental health and challenge stigma.
Upon arrival, the royal was greeted by his longtime friend Fearne Cotton, who is the Mind ambassador.
The award that Harry presented honored an individual who has experienced mental health problems and made an inspirational contribution.
“People seem ready for a different kind of conversation on mental health,” Harry said in a powerful speech. “Everyone was tired of stigma and scare stories around mental illness.”
“People are now really talking about their own well being and how to help those around them,” he continued. “We are shattering the since that was a real barrier to progress.”
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Earlier this year, the prince opened up about his own struggles with grief following the death of his mother, Princess Diana.
“I can safely say that losing my mom at the age of 12, and therefore shutting down all of my emotions for the last 20 years, has had a quite serious effect on not only my personal life but my work as well,” he told The Telegraph. “It was 20 years of not thinking about it, and two years of total chaos.”
“There’s nothing better than being able to share your experiences, and ask for advice from someone who has actually bene through it, rather than a compete stranger or someone who doesn’t actually get what you’ve been through,” he continued.
Harry and his brother Prince William and sister-in-law Kate Middleton have been at the forefront of a campaign to highlight mental health – mainly through Heads Together, their umbrella group of several charities aimed at reducing the stigma of talking about problems. Mind is one of those partner bodies of Heads Together.
Harry’s appearance comes after a weekend when Harry was alongside senior members including Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles of the royal family paying tribute to Britain’s fallen servicemen and women and met with the body that looks after war graves around the world at a special England rugby game.