James Middleton never wanted attention, but after his pubic Instagram account was unearthed earlier this week, Kate Middleton’s brother is using his newfound platform to affect positive change. In a candid new op-ed published in the Daily Mail, Middleton opened up about his mental health, revealing that he struggles with both depression and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). "I feel compelled to talk about it openly because this is precisely what my brother-in-law Prince William, my sister Catherine, and Prince Harry are advocating through their mental health charity Heads Together,” he wrote.
According to Middleton, it was his sister who helped convince him to open up about his struggles with mental health. Middleton writes that depression is just a small fraction of “the complex puzzle that is me,” and revealed that he’s also been struggling with dyslexia since he was a child. “[...] Both letters and numbers still jump and blur on the page in front of me and some days I have difficulty spelling even the simplest words,” he explains. “But it was only when, a year ago, I was also diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) that all the quirks and foibles of my character started to make sense."
Some might point to Middleton being thrust into the public eye because of his sister as being responsible for his struggles, but Middleton believes he would still have the same issues even if he wasn't the Duchess of Cambridge's brother. In fact, he says he’s grateful that he’s able to use his celebrity to talk openly about his conditions. “I feel I have a duty to speak out, so I can help others who are suffering as I did,” he writes. “I know now that in doing so I am not admitting to a weakness. The stigma attached to mental illness is lessening."
As Middleton points out, his sister has been advocating for more discussion around mental health, particularly when it comes to children. In February of last year, she released a PSA on Twitter to help kick off the UK's Children's Mental Health Week. “Childhood is an incredibly important moment in our lives. It is the time when we explore our personalities, discover the potential that lies within us and learn how we be ourselves,” she says in the video. “Our experience of the world at this early stage helps to shape who we become as adults and how we begin to feel comfortable in our own skin.”
Middleton went on to say that she believes that every child should be given “the best possible support,” to help them reach their full potential. "This is best achieved when we, the adults in their lives, work together to give children the emotional strength they need to face their futures and thrive,” she said.