Prince Harry talks about grief, counselling and the benefits of boxing


This week in our mental health news round-up, we explore some of Prince Harry’s coping strategies for dealing with grief and take a closer look at the worrying stats about just how many kids suffer from mental health issues – and the lack of support available to give them the help they need.

Children as young as four are suffering panic attacks and experiencing anxiety

Only recently have stats begun to emerge that show young children are increasingly suffering from mental health problems. This latest article from The Independent mentions a survey from the NASUWT teacher’s union, which suggests that children as young as four have been struggling with panic attacks, depression, anxiety and eating disorders.

These stats are clearly worrying, but the bigger problem is there’s so little support when a child is suffering. Teachers have said that even when they report that a child has a mental health problem, only around 22% of cases are properly dealt with. It seems there’s a really big disconnect here between increasing mental health problems and the support network to deal with them.

Prince Harry opens up about his grief and how counselling has helped

For the first time since the death of Princess Diana, her son Prince Harry has spoken candidly about how he dealt with the grief of her passing. He’s revealed that he came close to a breakdown and spent nearly 15 years “not thinking” about her death.

He said: “My way of dealing with it was sticking my head in the sand, refusing to ever think about my mum, because why would that help?”

He explained that not thinking about her death seemed to be working for a while. But then the grief exploded and he came close to what he described as a breakdown. He revealed that talking to people really helped – family members, friends and professional counsellors.

As part of the Heads Together campaign he’s running alongside William and the Duchess of Cambridge, Harry is urging anyone who finds it hard to cope or has been through a similar experience to really try and address their emotions and not push them down like he did.

Harry is the latest in a string of celebrities to talk really openly about his struggles with mental health – particularly grief – and we hope this will make more people feel comfortable sharing their thoughts, emotions and worries with others.

And Harry talks to the press about the mental health benefits of boxing

Not only has Harry been talking about his grief and how he learned to overcome it, he’s also been discussing his top coping strategies. And one of the main ones has been going to the gym and specifically focusing on boxing while he’s there.

He told The Guardian: “During those years I took up boxing, because everyone was saying boxing is good for you and it’s a really good way of letting out aggression. And that really saved me because I was on the verge of punching someone; so being able to punch someone who had pads was certainly easier.”

The eagle-eyed readers amongst you will remember that this isn’t the first time we’ve explored the benefits of boxing in helping people deal with their mental health challenges. Ellie Goulding spoke to the media about how boxing helped her cope with anxiety. Of course many people have revealed that exercise positively impacts their emotional well-being, but it seems there’s something about boxing – and other martial arts – that doesn’t just help people feel better, but also lets out a lot of pent up anger.

Thanks for tuning into this week’s mental health news roundup. Do check in next week for more of the latest news about counselling, therapy, mental health and some tips to make life easier for those suffering with mental health problems – whether you yourself are finding it hard to cope or a friend or relative needs some support.

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If you want to talk to us about anxiety, depression, grief or anything else, we can give you a shoulder to lean on when things get tough – because you don’t need to go through this on your own. Just head to our Find Me a Therapist page to find out how we can help you today. 

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