Catherine Duchess of Cambridge thanks Telegraph readers for helping tackle stigma of

first_imgThe charity says it is the aim of Prince William, Catherine and Prince Harry  to “encourage people feel comfortable with their everyday mental well being, to feel able to support their friends and families through difficult times, and to stop fear preventing people getting the help they need”.Prince William has spoken publicly on several occasions about how his job as an air ambulance pilot has given him an insight into the trauma suffered by those who experience psychological problems, some of whom are driven to attempt to end their own lives.He has been called out to several suicide attempts and has made tackling the problem of male suicide – the biggest killer of men aged 20-45 – a central part of his mental health campaign. Laura Martin with her six-year-old twins Rufus and AnnaCredit:Christopher Pledger/The Telegraph The letter from Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge The letter from Catherine, Duchess of CambridgeCredit:The Telegraph Former Parachute Regiment soldier James Tattingham marrying his wife Lucy in 2008, before he developed PTSD Earlier this year Prince William and Catherine spoke movingly to Jonny Benjamin, who was persuaded not to throw himself of Waterloo Bridge in 2008 by passer-by Neil Laybourn.Jonny was sectioned after being rescued on the bridge and later went on to track down Mr Laybourn, with whom he now campaigns to raise awareness of suicide.After meeting the pair at St Thomas’ Hospital, William said: “Someone told me five people a day try to kill themselves.”I was just blown away by the statistics. For both of us, the mental health piece has got lots of aspects. It’s such a big issue that we need to do something about it. We feel it’s been raised higher up the ladder. It’s suddenly bubbling just under the surface. Now we need to get up to the next level, to the surface.” Former Parachute Regiment soldier James Tattingham marrying his wife Lucy in 2008, before he developed PTSDCredit:Jay Williams/The Telegraph Laura became desperate and even contemplated harming her children.“Of course I’d never have done it in a million years,” she says. “But I hated myself for the thought.”Fortunately Laura’s GP referred her for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), which helped her cope with the stress of having become a parent.“The therapist talked a lot about “good-enough” parenting and made me realise that you don’t have to be perfect,” she said. “There have been many more ups and downs along the way but each time, I’ve used CBT and techniques I’ve learnt through mindfulness courses, and I’ve grown stronger.”Laura shared her experiences with Best Beginnings, one of eight charity partners in the Heads Together campaign, as part of its drive to raise awareness of the perinatal mental health issues that affect one in five women.She also made a film for Best Beginnings about her experience, in the hope of helping women who found themselves at a similar low point.“I wish I’d had the confidence to say I was depressed,” says Laura. “It might just have saved me from all those months of dealing with it on my own.”center_img Prince William and his wife Catherine have sent a heartfelt thank you to Telegraph readers for supporting people with mental health problems.The royal couple have made it one of their central aims to campaign and support those struggling with mental health issues, particularly children and young people.Among the charities they support is Heads Together, set up by to raise awareness about mental health issues and backed by this newspaper as part of our Christmas Appeal. Now Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, has written a letter on behalf of herself, Prince William and Prince Harry thanking our readers for their “fantastic support”.She wrote: “Telegraph readers’ support for the Heads Together campaign has been fantastic. William, Harry and I are working to change the conversation on mental health from one of stigma and fear to one of support and openness.”She added: “Your generosity will make a big difference in the lives of so many people. Thank you so much and Merry Christmas.”Heads Together was set up to campaign for an increase in the level of service and support on offer to people with mental health problems and has been selected as Charity of the Year for the 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon.It brings together a number of other charities, including Mind and the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families, to provide vital help for people with mental health problems. Laura Martin with her six-year-old twins Rufus and Anna The Duchess of Cambridge has spoken out in the past on the need for more help to be given to children and young people with psychiatric problems.In a video earlier this year to launch Children’s Mental Health Week she spoke the importance of being able to express their feelings openly.In the message, Catherine said that both she and Prince William feel strongly that “every child deserves to be supported through difficult times in their lives.”She added: “Through my work in areas like addiction, I have seen time and again that the roots of poor mental health in adulthood frequently stem from unresolved childhood issues. This needs to change.”How Heads Together can helpJames TattinghamFor James Tattingham the descent into mental illness began on the battlefields of Helmand Province.It was here, in July 2008, that he saw a close colleague killed and another severely injured when the Taliban attacked their convoy.The experience triggered the post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that would haunt James’s life back homeIt would take a four-year struggle before he sought help and was diagnosed by charities supported by Heads Together.  His wife Lucy said: “The man that left was not the man that returned. He withdrew from activities and people. He had trouble sleeping and would wake up in a cold sweat, screaming. He was always on edge, easily startled and overly alert.”Despite leaving the Army Mr Tattingham’s mental state remained precarious. He stopped playing with his children, Felix and Alistair, and stopped seeing his friends.Lucy convinced her husband to speak to a psychological well-being nurse at the veterans’ charity Help For Heroes, and spend a fortnight at the charity’s respite home Tedworth House, Salisbury.Doctors referred James to Combat Stress, the mental health charity, who confirmed his PTSD.“I felt relieved, but I still didn’t want other people to know. I didn’t want them to think I was weak,” he said.In 2013 the Tattinghams moved near Tedworth House to use the gym and talk to the counsellors. With their help his condition is improving and he is able to look after the children while Lucy works.“I’ve come a long way now from where I was,” says Mr Tattingham. “Since Help For Heroes has helped me I haven’t looked back. It’s been a rough journey, but if it wasn’t for them, I probably wouldn’t be here today.”Laura MartinWhen Laura Martin became pregnant with twins after IVF treatment she was, quite simply, “thrilled”.But as the pregnancy progressed she found herself increasingly anxious, prone to tears and unable to cope.Things seemed to improve when Anna and Rufus were born. She bonded with them and felt her life was back under control. But it didn’t last.When she started weaning the babies it “knocked me completely”. She says: “I felt more isolated than ever because I had even less time to get outside and see people, and I was losing confidence.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img

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