The Princess of Wales has admitted there is ‘no right or wrong way’ to seek help for your mental health as she turned interviewer to speak to four young people on World Mental Health Day.
The Prince and Princess of Wales recorded a special programme for Radio 1’s Newsbeat to mark World Mental Health Day, in which they heard from four young people who had struggled immensely with their mental health and have now found the support they need.
As mother-of-three Kate, 40, spoke with the young people about how they had struggled with their mental health before finding help, she also made note of how ‘everyone has mental health’ that they must look after in the same way they would ‘go to the gym’ to look after their physical health.
In the show, which aired on Radio 1, Radio 1Xtra and the Asian Network at 12.45pm this afternoon and will be repeated at 5.45pm, the Prince of Wales, 40, said mental health has been ‘pushed way down the priority list’ and argued we, as a society, must ‘find a balance’ that preserves mental wellbeing in order to tackle other issues facing society.
The Princess of Wales, 40, who was wearing a £49.99 recycled Zara blazer, added people are now much better at acknowledging they are struggling with their mental health these days, but that they still face problems in knowing how to deal with their issues.
During the Newsbeat special, the Prince and Princess heard from a student, Antonio Ferreira, a psychology and cognitive neuroscience student who is also a mental health activist. During his teenage years, Antonio was diagnosed with schizophrenia and emotionally unstable personality disorder.
He revealed how his condition sent him to a dark place, at which point he had decided to take his own life, before he was referred to a psychiatric unit which helped him recover.
‘Coming from an African background, mental health is not a topic of discussion,’ he said. ‘It’s not something I was aware of or had any knowledge of and so I didn’t accept my own diagnosis.
The Prince and Princess of Wales with Emma Hardwell, Ben Cowley, Antonio Ferreria, Dr Abigail Miranda and Pria Rai in a photograph taken to mark their special programme for BBC Radio 1’s Newsbeat for World Mental Health Day
Kate was dressed in a £49.99 recycled Zara blazer and a glitzy gold chain, thought to be the £234 Luisa Necklace from Laura Lombardi, for the discussion on BBC Radio 1’s Newsbeat which is being broadcast this afternoon
‘After being seen by my GP I was referred to a child/adolescent mental health service. Things went from zero to 100 real quick’ and he soon found himself ‘inches from the ground’ with ‘no hope’.
Antonio revealed that was when he decided to take his own life and ended up in the unit – and he was surprised by the support he received from other patients.
‘They did say to me: “We can see you’ve got a light bulb in you. It’s not that the light bulb has gone off it’s that someone has just turned off that switch and simply you just need someone to turn it back on”.’
He added: ‘I came out of there a different man’, which drove him to search for ways to help other people who had been in his position.
Later in the broadcast, William noted the things he had learnt from working with mental health charities and fronting campaigns such as Heads Togetehr.
‘A lot of the work we’ve done on mental health and listening to lots of people talk about it, is everyone likes a toolbox – particularly for men. A toolbox is quite a useful analogy to kind of use,’ he said.
The Prince added: ‘Big family networks and support networks around people are really important, but a lot of people don’t realise what they need until it actually comes along.
‘You can be living one life one minute and something massively changes and you realise you don’t necessarily have the tools or the experience to be able to tackle that.’
William appeared to have been referencing his mother Princess Diana’s death in 1997 and the recent deterioration of his relationship with brother Prince Harry.
Dr Abigail Miranda, an educational and child psychologist working in early years, replied: ‘To have, I suppose, in your toolbox, communication would be key and I think some of the myth-busting as well around attachment.
‘We know now through studies that actually any parent who spends a significant amount of time – or any caregiver – with the child will also form similar attachments and have those similar patterns as well.’
Kate – dressed in a £49.99 recycled Zara blazer and a glitzy gold chain, thought to be the £234 Luisa Necklace from Laura Lombardi – then said she would ‘love to know’ how the contributors look after their own mental health.
Antonio Ferreira, a mental health activist who was diagnosed with undifferentiated schizophrenia and emotionally unstable personality disorder as a teenager, replied: ‘That’s a big question.
‘I know not every day is going to be roses and sunflowers, you know, I know some days I’m going to have to push against the clouds to see that sun again and, you know, I know that you know when you have a bad day it doesn’t mean it will be a bad week or a bad month.
William and Kate recorded a special programme for BBC Radio 1’s Newsbeat to mark World Mental Health Day
‘So that’s the type of awareness I’m talking about, you know, coming to accept these things. Because when you can accept these things and you know, you know, on your bad day, what you have to remember is to remain humble and, you know, stay hopeful.
‘Because after bad the good follows, and you know, after good bad follows, after night comes day, after day comes night. So, you know, you want to keep pushing, you want to, you know, however much that hope is, you want to hold onto that hope.
‘You know, you can’t always run away from the issue, sometimes you have to really face them and conquer them and so, you know, with practice there’s progress, and that’s, I guess, in a nutshell how… it was a big question!’
Kate replied: ‘There’s no right or wrong, that’s the thing as well. Different things will work for different people and it’s just sometimes trying isn’t it, as well.’
Mr Ferreira said: ‘That’s it, yeah,’ and Kate added: ‘Different methods, different opportunities that arise as well to help best support you.’ Mr Ferreira responded: ‘Exactly.’
William then said: ‘I’m conscious we might run out of time and Pria [Rai] might say this is the worst Newsbeat production by two interviewers she’s ever seen’.
But Miss Rai replied: ‘Do you know what, you can come back, this seat, I’ve kept it warm, I think you’ve done a very good job, you can come back, carry on.’
William continued: ‘Well as we’ve said at the start of this special Newsbeat, this is all about having a meaningful conversation on mental health but it shouldn’t stop here.’
And Kate added: ‘Yep, absolutely, because talking about mental health is so important and it’s definitely the first step for us all, is to keep talking, having those conversations and reaching out for help.’
Ben Cowley, a music therapist and assistant mental health adviser for the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, and Emma Hardwell, a youth participation officer at The Mix, which offers mental health support to the under-25s, also took part in the discussion.
Also in the chat, Kate said: ‘The last time we were here was to launch the Heads Together campaign which was to get people to start opening up and talking about mental health. Since then obviously we’ve had the pandemic and everything like that. Do you feel that there’s been a shift in what people are speaking about around mental health?’
And Miss Hardwell replied: ‘Yeah and I think especially we’re seeing this at a younger generation, my generation and younger coming up, definitely less scared to talk about mental health, and it’s becoming more acceptable. And I think through the pandemic there was a lot around feeling lonely.
‘You know, a lot of us were isolated in our houses by ourselves. There was a lot of students who were literally in small university accommodations by themselves through that time.
‘And talking about feeling lonely and what that can then lead to, I think because it’s become such a universal feeling, that a lot of people have grouped together.
‘We all feel lonely right now, especially during that time, or we’re all lacking the connections that maybe we need. And so I think when we’re all feeling the same thing and we start to admit that, it makes it easier then for more people to say: “Oh yeah, me too.”’
Kate continued: ‘That’s one of the messages we are trying to encourage is the fact that everyone has mental health, and in the same way as their physical health we have to look after, in the same way we go to the gym, we need to look after and nurture our minds as well.
‘You were saying it’s really important to reach out and connect with people. Some people actually, expression through music or through art or through other forms of expression, it’s a really great way isn’t it of experiencing mental health.’
And Mr Cowley said: ‘Absolutely, self-care is being unapologetic about what you need, and it could be all these fun things like giving yourself an hour of gaming or going to the theatre, but it can also be giving yourself permission to say that you’re not coping and to ask someone what to do.’
Speaking on BBC Breakfast this morning, Mr Ferreira said he hoped the programme would inspire others.
Mr Ferreira said: ‘[Taking part in the radio show] was very surreal. But it’s a testament to my journey, to where I am now.
‘I never, ever thought I would be in a room speaking to the Prince and Princess of Wales about my mental health journey.
‘I think the main thing is about challenging yourself, pushing yourself, getting out of your main comfort zone. That’s the only way we learn, pushing your boundaries.
‘My goal is to raise awareness for mental health, especially in under-represented communities, and I hope something like that would shed light and inspire others.’
Aled Haydn Jones, head of Radio 1, said: ‘It’s been fantastic to welcome the Prince and Princess of Wales back to our studios to discuss something that is so close to both their and our audience’s hearts.
‘What was discussed today will resonate with so many of our listeners and it means so much to us that we can all work together to help tackle the stigma around this issue.’
Danielle Dwyer, editor of Radio 1’s Newsbeat, added: ‘We know mental health is really important to our listeners and we also know that when they’re struggling, they often turn to their friends.
‘Newsbeat isn’t just about delivering the news – we’re here to be a friend too, and a place our listeners can find support and advice when they need it.
‘Talking about mental wellbeing without stigma or judgment is so key and its brilliant to welcome the Prince and Princess of Wales to our reporting team for the day, to join us in such a vital conversation.’
Miss Rai said: ‘Let’s be honest, the news can be a heavy place. It’s felt like one “unprecedented” thing after another. Be it Covid, the cost of living crisis or exam stresses, it can take a toll on your mental health.
‘Newsbeat always wants to just let our listeners know, it’s okay – you’re not the only one feeling like that. People not only switch us on to get the news, but to share openly and frankly how they are feeling.
‘That’s humbling; to be a trusted part of people’s lives enough that they can send us a text about feeling lonely, or having lost a loved one. We have total strangers speaking to each other on the radio who soon feel like familiar friends and that’s a really important, uplifting part of what we do.’
The Prince of and Princess of Wales on a walkabout at Carrickfergus during a trip to Northern Ireland last week
William and Kate have previously appeared on Radio 1. Pictured: The couple appear on the Scott Mills show in 2017
William with Harry, his mother Diana, Charles and his house master Dr Andrew Gailey on his first day at Eton in 1995
William with his brother Prince Harry at the Queen’s funeral procession last month. The pair have a strained relationship
Speaking on BBC Breakfast this morning, Miss Rai added that the royal couple were very ‘candid’ and ‘caring’ throughout the programme.
She told BBC Breakfast: ‘Imagine the machine to make one of these things happen. We just thought: “This is an amazing opportunity.”
‘Radio is the kind of place [where] you can have these conversations, and when they wanted to do this we were like ‘Absolutely, yeah’.
‘We transformed the Radio 1 Live Lounge, somewhere that is used to being the backdrop for A-list pop stars but this time it was a stage set for something very different.
‘It really was candid conversation. They weren’t sticking to their scripts at all. They were thinking about and caring about the questions.’
The programme was broadcast at 12.45pm today on BBC Radio 1, Radio 1Xtra and the Asian Network. It will be aired again on Radio 1 and Radio 1Xtra at 5.45pm and will be available on BBC Sounds from 2pm.
If you are struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts, you can call The Samaritans helpline, which is open 24/7, on 116 123.
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-11301997/Prince-Harry-Kate-Middleton-BBC-Radio-One-World-Mental-Health-Day.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 Prince Harry and Kate Middleton record BBC Radio One show for World Mental Health Day