The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, with Prince Harry, spent yesterday at a Christmas party in support of Heads Together, as well as other mental health charities.
Prince Harry joined in a talk about suicide led by Ged Flynn and Heather Dickinson, of Papyrus a suicide prevention charity. The talk focused on ways that young people can better open up about any suicidal thoughts they might have.
Afterwards, Flynn said: “I sometimes use the phrase ‘may your life be as happy as social media pretends it is’, because there is a veneer, a pretend life going on for a lot of young people.
“The phrase he used was ‘lift up your heads’, because a lot of young people are spending their time looking down at apps and so on.
“He said that his father’s generation used to go out and talk to each other, and now young people are not getting that face-to-face contact,” during a chat with Prince Harry.
Around 1600 people under the age of 35 commit suicide each year, making it the leading cause of death in young people.
Flynn added on: “What is killing young people more than anything else is themselves.
“If it was a disease that was causing all of these deaths there would be an outcry – if one person catches ebola it is all over the news – but suicide doesn’t get mentioned very much.”
The three royals got in the festive spirit, helping decorate a tree at The Mix party and making a paper chain. The chain read words with positive messages of encouragement; Prince William writing “give time to one another” and Kate suggesting “go for a walk” and “laugh out loud”.
Chief executive of The Mix, Chris Martin said to The Telegraph: “Their Royal Highnesses have been absolutely fantastic for the profile of mental health of young people.
“They are obviously very well known among the under 25s that we serve and their involvement in talking about mental health so openly and encouraging people to engage in services has given permission to a lot of young people who may have been nervous to come forward to do so for the first time.
“They are just very, very good with people.”