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Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Stephen Fry speaks about mental health issues in Heads Together video

Written by Catherine Wylie

Stephen Fry has appeared in a video talking to his psychiatrist about his mental health breaking down.

The film is the latest in a series created by Heads Together, the campaign spearheaded by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry.

It comes as a YouGov poll, released by the campaign, shows that four out of 10 (42%) men have had a conversation recently about mental health compared to six out of 10 (58%) women.

The survey of 1,678 people also found that men (29%) are less likely than women (37%) to expect to talk about their mental health in the next six months, although men and women find these conversations equally helpful (83%).

The Heads Together film series features people from all walks of life talking about the life-changing conversations that helped them cope with their mental health problems.

Fry, 59, talks with his psychiatrist, Dr William Shanahan (pictured, left), on a bench in St James's Park about his mental health breaking down, and also about how talking openly helped him heal and continues to help him manage his mental health.

In the film, Fry said: "It was very difficult but it was ultimately the healing thing, talking was a really a very strong part of the healing."

His psychiatrist, Dr Shanahan, said: "Most people aren't very good at opening up and I think we have to, I certainly have to, get people to feel that this is going to be a comfortable time and a helpful time for them.

"One conversation can make all the difference for people."

Commenting on the poll results, Professor Paul Farrand, of the University of Exeter, said: "Men have fewer positive attitudes towards mental health service use, more negative attitudes towards psychological expression, lower levels of understanding about mental health problems, are less likely to accept diagnosis of mental health difficulty and feel greater levels of stigma.

"There may also be issues at a societal level regarding gender stereotypes associated with mental health that are not only restricted to patients, but also health professionals. These further decrease the likelihood that mental health difficulties will be raised with men."

In statement issued when the film series launched, William, Kate and Harry said: "Attitudes to mental health are at a tipping point. We hope these films show people how simple conversations can change the direction of an entire life.

"Please share them with your friends and families and join us in a national conversation on mental health in the weeks ahead."

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2017, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) PA Wire.

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