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Britain’s Young Royals Have a Refreshingly Honest Talk About Mental Health

More of this.

It’s hard to look at the glamorous lives of the British royal family, with their tiaras, castles, and corgis, and not roll your eyes at the excess. But raising money and awareness for charities and causes is an upside of the Royals’ fame—think of Princess Diana shaking hands with an AIDS patient without wearing gloves in 1991, an act that was considered shocking and incredibly important at the time.

Now Diana’s children, Princes William and Harry, and William’s wife Duchess Catherine, are spearheading a campaign to change the way we talk about mental health. I never thought I would see future monarchs discuss their own emotional travails so candidly.

William, Kate, and Harry sat down and talked to each other in support of Heads Together, an initiative to destigmatize mental health issues and spark conversation. The video is part of the Heads Together #OKToSay campaign, which encourages people to talk openly about the problems that they have faced. Mental health still has huge amounts of cultural stigma and misunderstanding worldwide. The idea that it should all be “OK to say” sounds incredibly beneficial and a great message to be spreading to young and old alike.

If the Royal family can admit that they’ve struggled with a host of issues—the Princes discuss their grief and repressed emotions following Diana’s death when they were young, and Kate talks about the intense learning curve of new motherhood—why shouldn’t the rest of us have such frank conversations with our friends and family? By all accounts, the Royals’ lives revolve around keeping up perfect outward appearances, but even they are willing to discuss the rough patches beneath the gloss.

This cannot have been easy for them to do, but they did it, and I believe it’s going to have a real impact going forward. It already did for me: I also lost a parent when I was young, and it meant a lot to watch this discussion. The fact that the Royals’ honesty feels so ground-breaking to me shows how badly we need to be talking to each other about the events and emotions that impact us. More of this, famous people. Use your powers for good.

(via Heads Together, image: screengrab)

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Kaila is a lifelong New Yorker. She's written for io9, Gizmodo, New York Magazine, The Awl, Wired, Cosmopolitan, and once published a Harlequin novel you'll never find.