‘Harry effect’ sees calls to mental health charities surge

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry in conversation at Kensington Palace (Heads Together campaign/PA Wire)
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry in conversation at Kensington Palace (Heads Together campaign/PA Wire)

LEADING mental health charities have seen a surge in calls following Prince Harry’s candid and raw interview about the death of his mother.

Rethink Mental Illness said their hotlines had been around one-third busier since the royal revealed he sought counselling after suffering two years of “total chaos”.

Meanwhile, Mind said their network answered 38% more calls than average on Tuesday, adding the interview had impacted those “struggling in silence”.

Brian Dow, a director at Rethink Mental Illness, said the 32-year-old was “able to get the issue into the nation’s living rooms in a way that no-one else can.”

He said: “This just shows the power of someone like Prince Harry. These figures demonstrate the direct effect speaking out about mental health can have.”

The charity SANE also said they took 12% more calls this week compared with the same period last month.

Harry was 12 years old when Diana, Princess of Wales, was killed in a car crash but he suppressed emotion and did not process the grief until his late 20s, he told the Daily Telegraph.

Paul Farmer CBE, chief executive of Mind, said it was “inspiring” to see the royal open up about something “so difficult and personal”, adding it is a “monumental time for mental health”.

He said: “Since Prince Harry spoke so candidly, more people have been approaching Mind for support.

“A number of callers specifically mentioned the impact the royal family had on their decision to call.”

It is not the first time the “Harry Effect” has helped draw attention to a cause.

HIV charity the Terrence Higgins Trust said demand for self-check kits increased fivefold “almost immediately” after he was pictured getting tested in July last year.

Prince William has also joined the drive to end the “shame” of discussing distressing feelings and called for an end to the “stiff upper lip” culture.

Harry is spearheading the Heads Together mental health campaign alongside his brother and sister-in-law, the Duchess of Cambridge.

A Kensington Palace spokesman said the royal trio had been “overwhelmed” by the response to the campaign.

He added: “We are in the middle of a truly national conversation on mental health.

“They are incredibly grateful to everyone who has shared their stories in recent weeks.”

The umbrella organisation is the London Marathon’s charity of the year.