Prince Harry should give the talk about mental health a break – psychiatrist

Prince Harry should give the talk about mental health a break – psychiatrist

One of Ireland’s leading psychiatrists has warned that interventions by Britain’s Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, risk triviliasing the experiences of people who are mentally-ill.

Prof. Patricia Casey told The Irish Catholic that she was worried that the couple’s high-profile role and comments about mental health risk making people think that the everyday ups and downs of life are actually mental illness.

“It’s good that people can be open about it [mental health]… as against that there is a danger that people will open up ‘willy-nilly’ to everybody who’s willing to listen about their inter-personal problems.

“I have to say, I think Prince Harry has contributed very negatively to all of this in that people are talking about normal distress as though normal distress is a mental health problem,” Prof. Casey says.

Prof. Casey – who has just published her latest book Fears, Phobias and Fantasies aimed at helping people understand the difference between mental illness and everyday life – warned that “normal distress is a sign of health. If you didn’t have distress in some situations, you would probably either be dead or be a psychopath.

“It’s very important that people are distressed in certain situations when they’re bereaved, when they have difficulties with their parents, etc.,” she said.

Prof. Casey also said that she has become increasingly concerned about what she describes as people being over-psychologised and “referred for psychological interventions when they really don’t have any kind of mental health problem that needs a professional to help them, but time and friendship and support would be sufficient,” she said.

She also warned against attempts to ‘fix’ normal human experiences such as grief following the death of a loved one.

“Unfortunately, there is an industry out there – a psychotherapy industry. And I don’t say they do it in any malevolent way, they want to make life easier for people. But it really doesn’t. And for many people, it disturbs their grief and their sadness if these normal processes are interfered with too vigorously or too early.

“Counselling does have a role in some cases, of course it does. I don’t want your readers to think that I’m opposed to it – but I think we have to be very judicious in the situations and circumstances in which we do use both medication and talking therapy,” she said.

Read the full interview here – Navigating the ups and downs of everyday life