William warns 'stiff upper lip' can damage mental health
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[April 18, 2017]
By Estelle Shirbon
LONDON (Reuters) - Prince
William has warned British men that keeping a "stiff
upper lip" by bottling up emotions was detrimental to
mental health, stepping up an awareness campaign that
includes a video chat with Lady Gaga.\
The comments by Queen Elizabeth's grandson came a day after
his younger brother Prince Harry spoke about his struggles
coping with the loss of his mother Diana in an unusually
The princes, together with William's wife Kate, are spearheading
a campaign called Heads Together that encourages people to open
up about mental illness and seek help.
"There may be a time and a place for the 'stiff upper lip', but
not at the expense of your health," William said in an interview
the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM), a charity
dedicated to preventing male suicide. http://bit.ly/2pcopHN
The British phrase "stiff upper lip" describes an ability to
keep emotions under control whatever the circumstances.
Suicide is the biggest killer of men under 45 in Britain, and
William said seeing the impact of suicide through his work as a
an air ambulance helicopter pilot had been a "tipping point" in
his decision to campaign on mental health issues.
Heads Together released a short film showing William discussing
mental health issues with the U.S. popstar Lady Gaga, who has
gone public with her own struggles with post-traumatic stress
disorder (PTSD) after she was raped aged 19.
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The four-minute video shows the prince sitting at a desk at
Kensington Palace, his London home, and talking via a laptop
computer screen with Lady Gaga, who is in the kitchen of her home in
The pair discussed the importance of talking about emotions and not
feeling judged for opening up about mental health difficulties.
In the past, maintaining a stiff upper lip was seen as a very
British virtue, epitomized by the royal family's stoic attitude amid
crises ranging from the 1936 abdication of King Edward VIII to the
death of Princess Diana in 1997.
Harry's decision to reveal he had sought counseling in his late
twenties to help deal with his grief for Diana and had experienced
two years of "total chaos" as he tackled repressed emotions was a
striking departure from past royal attitudes.
"We will all go through tough times in our lives, but men especially
feel the need to pretend that everything is OK, and that admitting
this to their friends will make them appear weak," Harry told CALM
in a joint interview with William.
"I can assure you this is actually a sign of strength."
(Editing by Tom Heneghan)
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