In a candid interview, Prince Harry has spoken about how his mother's death affected him and his emotional welfare – in the hope that he can encourage others to seek help for problems concerning mental health.
Speaking to The Telegraph, Prince Harry looked back at the years following Princess Diana's death in 1997, admitting that he "buried his head in the sand" and didn't properly face the grief of his mother's death.
"I can safely say that losing my mum at the age of 12, and therefore shutting down all of my emotions for the last 20 years, has had a quite serious effect on not only my personal life but my work as well," he said.
"I have probably been very close to a complete breakdown on numerous occasions when all sorts of grief and sort of lies and misconceptions and everything are coming to you from every angle."
Asked whether he sought counselling to help what he was going through, he said: "I've done that a couple of times, more than a couple of times, but it's great."
"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?"
"And then [I] started to have a few conversations and actually all of a sudden, all of this grief that I have never processed started to come to the forefront and I was like, there is actually a lot of stuff here that I need to deal with."
He says there were "only two years … of total chaos" in his twenties before he felt comfortable to open up about his problems.
"I know there is huge merit in talking about your issues and the only thing about keeping it quiet is that it's only ever going to make it worse," he said.
"Not just for you but everybody else around you as well because you become a problem. I, through a lot of my twenties, was a problem and I didn't know how to deal with it."
"It's all about timing. And for me personally, my brother, you know, bless him, he was a huge support to me. He kept saying this is not right, this is not normal, you need to talk to [someone] about stuff, it's OK.
"The timing wasn't right. You need to feel it in yourself, you need to find the right person to talk to as well."
He continued: "I can't encourage people enough to just have that conversation because you will be surprised firstly, how much support you get and secondly, how many people literally are longing for you to come out."
Prince Harry has founded the charity Heads Together alongside the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to encourage people to talk about their problems, and break down the stigma surrounding mental health issues.
Readers affected by the issues raised in this story are encouraged to contact Samaritans free on 116 123 (www.samaritans.org) or Mind on 0300 123 3393 (www.mind.org.uk). Readers in the US are encouraged to contact the National Suicide Prevention Line on 1-800-273-8255.
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