Today, Prince Harry met staff from the London Ambulance Service at the kickoff event for Time to Change which is part of the Heads Together campaign; Heads Together consists of eight partner mental health organisations which are part of The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry. Thursday, 2 February is #TimeToTalk Day. Today is a day where everyone around the United Kingdom is urged to talk about mental health.
This annual day is run by the charity, Time to Change. The 2017 theme for Time To Talk Day is “conversations change lives”. Prince Harry started his day at the London Ambulance Service. This is one of many establishments around the country that place emphasis on the mental wellbeing of their workforce. The ambulance service is just one of many who hold an annual Time to Talk Day.
The Prince spoke with Alexandra Turp, a 999-call handler and Katie Shrimpton, from the services supporter network.The two women talked about mental health with His Royal Highness, not only discussing their work but their own mental health.
In the ambulance garage at the London centre, the Prince chatted with paramedic Sue Trow and her supervisor, Peter Rhodes. Because 999-call handlers and paramedics work directly with the public and they interact with people in a varying number of situations, they must be affected by all they observe. The three discussed how those working on the frontlines handle their own issues related to mental health and the importance of seeking out help.
Finally, the Prince met three groups of ambulance crews who shared some work experiences and how they cope with mental health. Prince Harry was shown the time to talk tracker, a log where workers can record when they have conversations about mental health. According to the press release from Kensington Palace, this tool helps reduce any stigmas surrounding mental health and any discrimination which might come from it.
To the staff members, Prince Harry said: “What you guys have to deal with every day, you don’t know what you’re going to get. It’s strength to be able to talk about it.” Kensington Palace also revealed through social media that Prince Harry went on to urge those working in a field where they serve the public’s physical, mental, and emotional health, to talk about their own mental health. If they don’t, no one else will. One crucial point the Prince also made was: “People are scared to talk about it [mental health], but they should be scared about not talking about it.”