To mark World Mental Health Day, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry attended a reception at County Hall in central London organised by their Heads Together organisation. The event recognised outstanding individuals who have helped others in need and included a trip on the London Eye with a group of guests who have suffered psychological issues along with the people who have supported them.
In a joint speech the royals made an impassioned plea for society to recognise the proliferation of mental health problems, saying the sooner everyone reaches out to help the better. The Duke of Cambridge began, telling guests that ‘we all have mental health like we do physical health, good or ill’ and that mental health isn’t ‘a dirty word’.
Prince William continued, ‘not seeking help at those times when it all seems too much, or we are depressed or anxious, can impact the rest of our lives. Put simply, the three of us want to make asking for help no longer a big deal.’
Referencing his work role Prince William said ‘Personally, in my work at the air ambulance, I see how colleagues and families help each other through traumatic moments…The three of us have learnt a lot in the past few months as we have met people. The conclusion we are coming to is that the more we all talk about this, the more collectively as a society we can do to support one another.’
The Duchess of Cambridge (in a new Kate Spade dress) was the next to speak, echoing her husband, ‘All of us know someone who has been through difficult emotional times, and we know how hard it can be to see a way forward. William, Harry and I feel it is our duty to do what we can, with your help, to shine a spotlight on emotional well-being and highlight the support that is out there to prevent or manage the pain at difficult times.’
Prince Harry ended the speech, saying ‘It’s not rocket science, but most of us don’t know what to do if a friend or family member is suffering. Having some basic knowledge, and having the confidence to act on your knowledge, can make a huge difference to those around us.’
Harry also reinforced his brother’s initial point: ‘As William said earlier, we all have mental health, just as we all have physical health. Too often we think mental health problems are things that happen to other people, not us. But we will all experience pressure on our mental health at some point during our lives. The more we accept that, the better we can help each other. Catching it and recognising it early saves lives.’
Heads Together is a partnership between charities which provide frontline mental health support. Spearheaded by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry, the organisation aims to change the conversation on mental well-being in Britain. More information can be found via the website: www.headstogether.org.uk