At a briefing earlier today, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry outlined their plans for mental health umbrella organisation, Heads Together.
The Royal trio all gave brief speeches at the Institute of Contemporary Art in London, inviting people to support the campaign to change the conversation on the issue, which is often surrounded by stigma.
Guests included Rio Ferdinand, who discussed mental health with Prince Harry earlier this year, BBC radio DJs, as well as runners for this year’s marathon.
As the 2017 London Marathon charity, Heads Together says it wants to use this privileged position to further tackle the stigma surrounding mental health, with its main goal being to show people how important it is to start a conversation with a friend, family member, colleague, or a professional when faced with a challenge to mental health.
Prince William began: “It is no exaggeration to say that conversations – simple conversations – can be life-changing: in a workplace, in your kitchen at home, with a friend, family member or colleague. And that’s what Catherine, Harry and I want to do – we want more people to be having those conversations.”
Catherine referred to her recent visit to the Anna Freud Centre in her address: “Fear, or reticence, or a sense of not wanting to burden another, means that people suffer in silence – allowing the problem to grow larger and larger unchecked.
“William, Harry and I have been very privileged to witness in the course of our work countless examples of simple conversations that have changed lives, which were the first step on a path to recovery,” she said.
“What Heads Together is proposing is that in the weeks leading up to the Marathon, our campaign will showcase people from all walks of life, talking about the life-changing conversations that have helped them with their mental health challenges,” the Duchess explained. “We hope that these real-life examples will serve as encouragement to others to do the same.”
Prince Harry asked for the help of the influential figures and media gathered at the briefing: “We are all wired differently. We all have mental health; and we’ll say it again and again and again, if you want to be fit, healthy and set yourself up for success then your mental fitness is absolutely as important as your physical fitness. Everyone would get help for a broken leg, so why not seek help for an issue that could hamper you and others around you.”
“Every single one of you in this room can help too. You are all role models and highly respected people in your industries – the way you talk about mental health will have a profound effect on millions of people, whether you’re speaking from personal experience or encouraging those around you to do the same,” he concluded.
The 2017 London Marathon – held on 23rd April – will mark the 1 year anniversary of the beginning of the campaign, with hundreds of runners raising money for Heads Together.