women sitting in the kitchen talking with Prince Harry

5 April 2019

The Duke of Sussex visited our YMCA South Ealing hostel for a mental health event on Wednesday 3 April. He met with two of our residents and our housing manager to talk about their experiences, along with mental health champions who have participated in YMCA England & Wales’ pilot project. The Duke also attended a roundtable with national organisations to talk about mental health support for young people and the underlying causes. The Duke finished off his visit by meeting young children who attend a ballet class and their parents.

He said: “Every single one of us in here can suffer from mental health. There continues to be huge progress in smashing the stigma that surrounds mental health, but let’s keep normalizing the conversation. Let’s keep reminding each other that it’s okay to not be okay, and to listen to each other. After all, how we think determines how we act, how we feel and how we treat ourselves and those around us.”

Duke of Sussex shines a light on mental health

Sophia Zahra, 21, who met the Duke, was helped by YMCA as a 17-year-old carer and now works for YMCA Swansea’s Young Carer Project said: “Prince Harry brings much-needed attention to young people, especially men, and their mental health. It’s amazing for people who are struggling [with mental health] to see Prince Harry, who is so inspiring and has spoken about his own experiences.”

Emma Thomas, CEO of Young Minds and the chair of the roundtable said: “It was fantastic to talk to the Duke of Sussex about the crucial role that youth and community organisations can play in supporting young people’s mental health. There are many factors that can affect young people – including bullying, homelessness, family problems and poverty – and organisations and people within their communities are ideally placed to provide practical help as well as effective mental health support. It’s much better that young people can seek the help they need early on than only when they reach crisis point.”

5 April 2019