Intended for healthcare professionals


Death of Diana, Princess of Wales

BMJ 1997; 315 doi: (Published 29 November 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;315:1467

People experiencing emotional difficulties react in different ways

  1. Edwina R L Williams, Specialist psychiatric registrara,
  2. Jean Meadows, Department and information coordinatorb,
  3. Jose Catal, Reader in psychiatryb
  1. a Riverside Mental Health Trust, Psychological Medicine Unit, South Kensington and Chelsea Mental Health Centre, London SW10 9NG
  2. b Imperial College School of Medicine, Division of Neuroscience and Psychological Medicine, London SW10 8RP
  3. c Quantitative Research Group, Department of Social Sciences (Psychology), Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham NG1 4BU

    See p 1457

    Editor—Public emotion after the death of Princess Diana1 has been associated with an increase in consultations with general practitioners for depression,2 3 although it is not clear if this represents a true increase. Most people might show some emotion, but how do people experiencing emotional difficulties react? We have observed in psychiatric practice a range of responses, showing that an emotional response was incorporated into the cognitions of many of our patients, influencing their efforts to cope.

    One common response was related to the individual's experience of loss. For example, an HIV positive gay man with a depressive illness in remission had given a friend's funeral eulogy days before the event. He felt he had coped well by “putting [his] grief behind [him]” despite the resonance with his situation. The public grief resulted in tearfulness and thoughts of his death, leading to a better attitude towards his future. He developed no symptoms of …

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