Mental health experts have joined Prince Harry in appealing to men to stop suffering problems in silence, and to seek help, as statistics show they often fail to do so - with deadly consequences.
In an attempt to break the stigma surrounding the issue, the heir to the throne revealed he underwent counselling to cope with negative feelings following the death of his mother when he was 12 years old.
He told The Telegraph how instead of being open about his grief he “shut down all his emotions” to the point where he was “very close to a complete breakdown on numerous occasions”.
“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?“ he said.
“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.”
Prince Harry said he finally acted when his brother, Prince William, pushed him to address the issue.
He said he has met with a professional “more than a couple of times” and described the experience as being “great”.
He is now encouraging more people to reach out to others in times of need and to normalise the conversation about mental health.
“The experience I have had is that once you start talking about it, you realise that actually you’re part of quite a big club,” he said.
Mental Health Awareness: Facts and figures
Mental Health Awareness: Facts and figures
1/10 Mental Health Foundation: Living With Anxiety report
30 per cent of people deal with anxiety by talking to a friend or relative, or by going for a walk.
2/10 Mental Health Foundation: Living With Anxiety report
Almost one in five people feel anxious all or a lot of the time.
3/10 Mental Health Foundation: Living With Anxiety report
22 per cent of women feel anxious a lot or all of the time, compared to 15 per cent of men.
Roman Levin/Flickr Creative Commons
4/10 Mental Health Foundation: Living With Anxiety report
45 per cent of people who feel anxious in everyday life cite financial issues as their biggest cause of worry.
5/10 Mental Health Foundation: Living With Anxiety report
And 26 per cent of people who feel anxious say fearing for the welfare of their children and loved ones leaves them burdened with worry.
And 26 per cent of people say fearing for the welfare of their children and loved ones leaves them burdened with anxiety.
6/10 Mental Health Foundation: Living With Anxiety report
27 per cent of people who suffer from anxiety say work issues, such as long hours, are the source of the problem.
7/10 Mental Health Foundation: Living With Anxiety report
But 16 per cent use alcohol to cope, while 10 per cent turn to cigarettes in the face of anxiety. Unemployed people are more likely to resort to these harmful strategies: 27 per cent use alcohol and 23 per cent use cigarettes.
8/10 Mental Health Foundation: Living With Anxiety report
Only seven per cent of people who say they suffer from anxiety seek help from their GP.
9/10 Mental Health Foundation: Living With Anxiety report
People are thought to be more anxious than they were five years ago.
Alessandra/Flickr Creative Commons
10/10 Mental Health Foundation: Living With Anxiety report
The stresses of modern life are thought to have created "The Age of Anxiety".
“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.”
The Prince's comments came as research showed reports of chronic depression are more than three times higher among women, yet men are three times as likely to commit suicide.
In 2014, some 10 per cent of the UK female population were reported to have chronic depression, compared to three per cent of men.
In the same year, 1,492 women committed suicide, compared to three times as many men, at 4,630 cases.
The gender gap in reports of chronic depression is bigger in the UK than it is in the average across European countries, being a slightly more even split of 5 per cent reports in men and 9 per cent in women.
However, the UK gender gap in suicide rates falls closely in line with the European average rates.
This suggests that ideas about what it means to be masculine are less evolved in the UK than they are in other European countries.
Cal Strode, a spokesperson for the Mental Health Foundation, agreed it was vital men felt able to talk about their emotions.
“Men can often feel isolated and unable to tell people how they are feeling – a culture of men shouldering pain alone has developed,“ he told The Independent.
“We need to challenge toxic ideas of masculinity that prevent openness and vulnerability in men.
”It takes real courage to be open and honest about mental health, but when suicide is the leading cause of death for young men, we all have a responsibility to push for cultural change.”
“I think it’s important to talk about gender when we talk about mental health, because the ways we’re expected to deal with things is different,“ he told The Independent.
“Men are more likely to say something like ‘I’m feeling a bit shit’ when really they mean 'This is the worst I’ve ever felt in my life and I can’t imagine feeling worse'.”