Prince Harry’s public admission of reaching out for help drew cheers from a crowd of about 12,000 people at Dubbo’s Picnic in the Park on Wednesday.
Two women invited to the event are still applauding his brave stance.
Winner of the AgriFutures Australia 2018 NSW-ACT Rural Women’s Award, Dubbo’s Jillian Kilby, and headspace Dubbo centre manager Marijka Brennan, have backed the prince’s appeal to people struggling with mental illness to reach out.
In his speech, Prince Harry acknowledged the “huge mental and emotional toll” of the drought on farmers and their families.
He said suicide rates in rural and remote areas were greater than in urban populations, and “this may be especially true among young men in remote regions”.
“But you need to know that part of being strong and tough is having the courage to ask for help when you need it,” he said. “You must not silently suffer. You are all in this together.
“And if I may speak personally, we are all in this together - because asking for help was one of the best decisions I ever made.
“You will be continually amazed how your life changes for the better once you put your hand up. It’s not easy and there are no quick fixes, but it’s about being the best version of yourself for you and for those around you.”
Ms Kilby attended the AgriFutures Australia Rural Women’s Award ceremony in Canberra two days before the royal visit.
“Coming from the ceremony, where we spent the evening celebrating success and achievement, it was wonderfully grounding to hear someone in such a position, speak of his own need to seek help and encourage others to seek help,” she said.
“It’s important that we can see people of influence being vulnerable and leading by example.”
Ms Kilby is asking the people of Dubbo and district “who have you asked for help from lately?” “ And if not , why not,” she said. “We all need help”.
In his compelling address, Prince Harry referred to headspace as one of the support services “working hard to help those who are struggling”.
Ms Brennan, who spoke briefly with the prince at Picnic at the Park, said young men between the ages of 18 and 25 years were “not very good at asking for help”.
“I really loved that his (the prince’s) message was ask for help because you will be surprised at the result,” she said.
The headspace Dubbo centre manager told Prince Harry about the difficulties of servicing a large geographical area.
“But we do what we can with what we’ve got,” she told the royal visitor.