Duke of Cambridge: ‘There is always a solution’ – the royal addresses mental health crisis

The Duke of Cambridge arrives at the Tusk Awards

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The Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported that in 2020, 4,912 suicides were registered in England. Back in 2020, it was reported that male suicide rates had hit a two-decade high in England and Wales, with a rate of 11 deaths per 100,000 in the population. It is due to these statistics that establishments like James’ Place become all the more important, as the Duke of Cambridge officially opened the charity’s permanent home in London after opening one in Liverpool back in 2018.

During his visit, Prince William spoke with the charity’s co-founder Clare Milford Haven, who created James’ Place after her son, James, lost his life to suicide at the age of 21.

Alongside this, the Prince met trained clinicians and men who have benefitted from the charity’s work before being shown some of the tools used by the charity to help men who find themselves in crisis.

During the visit, the Prince addressed mental health and suicide, praising the work of the charity. He said: “The one takeaway for me… is the idea that there is a solution.

“There is always a solution.

“I think you’re going to give a lot of men the support they need for a brighter future.”

After opening the charity’s first centre back in 2018, the royal said the centres were “pushing boundaries” in attempting to help those affected by a “big problem that is not discussed enough”, something he feels strongly about four years on.

In light of the newest centre opening, Milford Haven said: “We are so grateful for His Royal Highness’s support today as we open our London centre. Our journey to this point is another significant step to becoming a nationally recognised service available to men across the country – a service that is really making a difference to those who need it.

“When we opened the first James’ Place, in memory of my son James, we were doing something completely new.

“It means a great deal to us that, when we welcome His Royal Highness to our new centre, we will be able to tell him about the men we have helped and the lives we have saved.”

Whilst Ellen O’Donoghue, James’ Place CEO, addressed the work of the charity and the ongoing crisis facing not only men but individuals all over the country.

She added: “The work we have been doing in Liverpool and now in London shows extremely positive clinical results.

“Given that suicide is the leading cause of death for men under 50, our work to save the lives of men in crisis has never been more valuable. Opening London and our next three centres means that as many men around the country as possible will be able to access vital support when they need it most.”

Samaritans, a UK-leading charity explained that middle-aged men are more likely to die by suicide than any other age group. In fact, one in eight men have a common mental health problem such as anxiety, panic disorder, depression or obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).

Although it is important to recognise that not all suicide stems from mental health conditions, for individuals suffering from depression or anxiety, suicidal thoughts can be a more common symptom.

Depression is a low mood that lasts for an increasingly long time, usually affecting an individual’s everyday life. Although every individual differs, for those suffering from depression in its most severe form, they can become suicidal.

Commonly, other symptoms of depression can include:

  • Avoiding social events and activities you usually enjoy
  • Self-harming or suicidal behaviour
  • Difficulty speaking, thinking clearly or making decisions
  • Losing interest in sex
  • Difficulty remembering or concentrating on things
  • Using more tobacco, alcohol or other drugs than usual
  • Difficulty sleeping, or sleeping too much
  • Finding no pleasure in life or things you usually enjoy
  • A sense of unreality
  • No self-confidence or self-esteem.

What to do if you think you are depressed

The NHS recommends that if individuals have or are experiencing any of the above symptoms, they seek advice from a medical professional. There, individuals can be pointed towards various treatments or places of respite like James’ Place.

At James’ Place, each man is invited to nominate a supporter – for example a friend or family member – to help him through his treatment, who is also offered support by the charity.

The clinical team provides a brief, intensive, therapeutic intervention throughout the crisis period before helping men access any long-term help via other services. One unique intervention includes ‘laying your cards on the table’ using a set of cards which provide descriptions of their emotions, to help men to verbalise what they are thinking, doing and feeling. This unique approach is evidence-informed and evaluated by partners at Liverpool John Moores University.

For confidential mental health support contact James’ Place Monday to Friday from 9:30am to 5:30pm or visit www.jamesplace.org.uk. Alternatively, contact Samaritans UK on 116 123 or via email on [email protected].

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