The Prince of Wales spoke to young volunteers at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern in London about mental health in the LGBTQ+ community

Prince William is shining a light on mental health issues in the LGBTQ+ community
To close out Pride Month, a new video was shared on Friday of the Prince of Wales visiting the Royal Vauxhall Tavern in South London—one of the oldest LGBTQ+ spaces in the U.K.—to speak about improving mental health within the LGBTQ+ community.

“I thought it was quite useful to bring you guys together for Pride,” William, 41, said to young volunteers Alexis, Michael, and Sharvari from charities The Mix and Shout before asking, “How important is a place and space like this for your community to be able to come to and be able to talk and meet and feel alive?”

“We are losing physical spaces like the wonderful one we’re standing in,” Alexis said, adding that the community is having to “fight to protect” spaces like the Royal Vauxhall Tavern, which are being “lost all over the country. There is nothing like actually coming together in person.”

“I feel very underdressed today in the Royal Vauxhall Tavern. I should have come in some sequins or some glitter,” the prince said with a laugh, before Alexis joked he should return on a Friday night

Despite the friendly atmosphere, the royal was keen to discover how the group had benefited from volunteering with The Mix and Shout, two charities that provide support for those struggling with their mental health. “It sort of brought a sense of joy back into my life where I felt like, at least if I’ve done nothing else today, at least I’ve done something for somebody else,” Shavari told the royal. “I am worthwhile; I am worthy; I am worth taking up space,” she added.
Prince William then talked to the group about how they go about sharing who they are with friends and family. “We all have felt that same feeling that we’re different,” Shavari explained.

She and the royal then discussed when she first recognized her mental health was important, her journey of starting therapy, and that people can feel they need to reach a “crisis point” before seeking help. “Some might say mental fitness is really important,” the prince said.

William shared that he had read research from Stonewall, which carries out studies on the LGBTQ+ community, that said, “1 in 8 young men kill themselves in the community.”

“That’s an unbelievable, terrifying stat,” he added.

“We categorically know it is not sexuality or gender identity that causes mental ill health; it is actually the experience of the whole world,” Alexis explained. “Experiencing homophobia, discrimination, negative discourse on social media, bullying, a lack of protections, and fear of how you’re going to be rejected by family—aall of those things add to the mental load.”

The prince also asked for “tips and tricks for keeping your mental fitness going,” and questioned the group on “when people need the support, what do you advise is the best thing to do?” Michael explained to William that reaching out to charities and organizations had helped him, while Alexis suggested to “ask twice” if someone seems like they may need help.

After Michael mentioned that it can be difficult for young men to talk about their mental health, the Prince shared his own insights.

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