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PM praises Harry for revealing battle with grief over Diana's death

Prince Harry has been praised for his bravery by Theresa May after revealing he sought counselling to come to terms with the death of his mother.

The Prime Minister said his decision to speak out would help "smash the stigma around mental health" while mental health charity Mind described it as a "true turning point".

Harry, who was 12 when Diana, Princess of Wales, was killed in a car crash, said it was not until his late 20s that he processed his grief.

In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, the 32-year-old said he spent nearly 20 years "not thinking" about her death and eventually got help after two years of "total chaos".

Responding to his comments, Mrs May said: "Mental health problems affect people of all ages and all backgrounds.

"The bravery of those in public positions who speak out about their experiences helps smash the stigma around mental health and will help thousands of people to realise they are not alone.

"If we are to tackle this injustice, we must forge a new approach that recognises our responsibility to each other, and make mental illness an everyday concern for all of us and in every one of our institutions."

Harry, who is spearheading the Heads Together mental health campaign alongside the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, admitted that shutting down his emotions after losing his mother had "a quite serious effect on not only my personal life but my work as well".

He said he eventually sought help after his brother told him he needed to deal with his feelings.

"It was 20 years of not thinking about it and two years of total chaos," he explained.

But the Prince said that he was now in a "good place" because of the "process I have been through over the past two and a half years".

Mind chief executive Paul Farmer said : "It's inspiring to see Prince Harry speaking out about his experiences.

"It shows how far we have come in changing public attitudes to mental health that someone so high profile can open up about something so difficult and personal.

"We know that this will have a huge impact on people who are still struggling in silence with their mental health - every time someone in the public eye speaks up we know that it encourages ordinary members of the public to do the same.

"Prince Harry speaking so candidly is a true turning point that shows that as a society we must no longer adopt a 'stiff upper lip' attitude and that we need to talk openly about mental health, something that affects us all directly."

Sue Baker, director of Time to Change, said: "Prince Harry sharing his experiences of mental health issues and the counselling he sought as a result of losing his mother will have helped change attitudes, not just at home but also overseas.

"It was a dream of mine 20 years ago that we'd see the Royal Family join sports people, music stars, politicians and business leaders as well as everyday people in sharing their mental health experiences in all sorts of communities."

Dr Fiona Pienaar, director of clinical services at children's mental health charity Place2Be said: "Prince Harry's willingness to talk so intimately about the impact of the loss of his mother 20 years ago, as well as how he has processed his grief, is a gift from the young royal."

She said that his story "clearly articulates" the importance of talking about loss, adding: "All grief is unique and personal to an individual and we may think that no one can possibly understand our experience.

"Prince Harry's story demonstrates so movingly that it does not matter how long after the event we seek help, we can start to heal years later with the right support."

Heads Together, an umbrella organisation for mental health charities, is the London Marathon's charity of the year.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Harry, who hope the race will be known as "the mental health marathon", will hand out medals on the finish line at the Mall on Sunday.

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