Coming off the successful 2017 Invictus Games, Prince Harry announced a new partnership today to help the mental health of Armed Forces personnel.
Joined by Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon, Prince Harry shared the news at the Ministry of Defence in London.
The partnership that will produce training materials to better the mental health of servicemen and women is between the Ministry of Defence and the Royal Foundation which was created by Prince Harry and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
There are also high hopes that this will drop the number of service persons who need to be medically discharged.
As a veteran himself, Prince Harry spoke of the intense level of training the service personnel need, saying: “Quite simply, these men and women are prized assets which need to be continually invested in. We surely have to think of them as high performance athletes, carrying all their kit, equipment and a rifle.
“Crucially, fighting fitness is not just about physical fitness. It is just as much about mental fitness too.
“Elite sports people now focus heavily on their mental approach to training and competing.
“They know that a perfectly fit body cannot win on the court, on the field, in the ring, or on the track if the mind is not focused.
“We have all seen professional athletes lose races or matches due to unforced errors. It is no different for anyone in high pressure roles.”
He continued thanking the Defence Secretary for their support during the Invictus Games: “During my time in the Army, I saw how important physical conditioning was and how we always warmed up before every run or loaded march to reduce the risk of injury. We should have the same approach to conditioning for our mental health too.”
By mid-2018, the new training programme will start up for military and civilian MoD workers.
Jon White, who is a triple amputee due to an IED in 2010 in Afghanistan, now leads the project through the Royal Foundation. Speaking about the initiative, he said: “The idea is start to get them thinking about their mental fitness so they talk about it in the same way they do about going to the gym for their physical fitness.
“In the same way that someone might say they’re going to give the gym a miss because they’ve got a slight strain, if we can get them talking about mental health problems at an early stage, then you don’t let it fester.”
The news comes a day after Prince William announced a new £2 million grant donated by the royal trio towards mental health.