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Prince William speaks with Lady Gaga on mental health

The Rapid City Journal - 4/19/2017

LONDON | Prince William has enlisted Lady Gaga in his campaign to persuade people to be more open about mental health issues.

The heir to the British throne released a video Tuesday in which he speaks with the pop star via FaceTime. Lady Gaga, who last year spoke out about her struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder, places the call from her kitchen in California, and William answers at his desk in Kensington Palace.

"It's interesting to see and hear from you how much having that conversation has really made a difference to you," William said in the video. "It's so important to break open that fear and that taboo which is only going to lead to more problems down the line."

The conversation is part of the latest blitz by the young royals as they campaign to end the stigma associated with mental health issues. William and his wife, the Duchess of Cambridge, along with his brother, Prince Harry, have made mental health a focus of their charitable work.

It comes a day after the Daily Telegraph published an unusually candid interview with Harry. The 32-year-old prince acknowledged that he spent nearly 20 years "not thinking" about the death of his mother, Princess Diana, and that he only got help after two years of "total chaos."

Though the royal family has toiled for years for hundreds of charities, the work on mental health represents something of a departure - in part because of the taboo long associated with psychological issues. It can be seen as an extension of the work of Diana, who among other things shook the hand of an HIV-positive man during the height of the AIDS crisis.

"She was rewriting the script of the royals for the future."

Mental health charities are flatly thrilled. Comments from the royals gain immediate attention - particularly when they offer tantalizing revelations about their private lives. But mostly the comments show that it is normal to seek assistance when going through tough times.

Lady Gaga brings even more attention to the cause. She told Prince William in the video that talking more openly about mental health would let people feel like "we are not hiding anymore."

 
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