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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge mark World Mental Health Day

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge marked World Mental Health Day today by visiting a project in Harrow run by the mental health charity, Mind. William and Kate spent several hours meeting young people affected by mental health issues and hearing about how they have gone on to use their experiences to get involved with projects that help others who find themselves in similar situations.

William and Kate met young people who now volunteer with Mind in Harrow or with the anti-stigma campaign, Time to Change. During their visit they got the chance to talk to many of those who now help run projects aimed at helping others and heard about the particular challenges that young people can face when speaking up about and dealing with mental health issues.

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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge took part in a Mindkit workshop during their time at Harrow College in north west London. The Mindkit workshops are designed to educate young people about emotional wellbeing, health and resilience. William and Kate chatted to different groups during the workshop and Paul Farmer, CEO of Mind, later said that “By putting a spotlight on mental health, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are helping us to send an important and urgent message to the world that it is time to change our attitudes about mental health problems.”

The royal couple also met some Time to Change champions, people who have all experienced mental health difficulties and who now campaign to end the stigma that is sometimes attached to the issue. Sue Baker, Director of Time to Change, said “Mental health is an issue across the globe and sadly, so is the stigma attached to it, but we are starting to see progress and this is the generation for change. Having the support of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on World Mental Health Day will help to bring mental health out from the shadows to a global audience.”

One of the Time to Change champions who met the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge during their visit explained why she felt it was so important to raise the profile of how mental health issues affect young people. Vithuja Balasingam said “For a long time, depression was the only thing I knew, talking about it has helped me separate myself from the illness…that’s why I’m here today. To celebrate how far we’ve come and to remind everyone that it’s okay to talk without being afraid or ashamed.”

William and Kate also attended a reception at Harrow College where the couple met Mind volunteers and their families.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have both placed great emphasis on issues around mental health in recent weeks with Kate spending a morning at HMP Send to hear about projects helping women overcome addiction issues while William has taken part in anti bullying workshops. And the official Kensington Palace Twitter account recently shared a message explaining that the Duchess of Cambridge would be taking on an autumn programme focused on early intervention, mental health, and addiction.

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Following their engagement in Harrow today, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge travelled to Twickenham where they watched the Rugby World Cup pool match between Australia and Wales. And while the duke, vice patron of the Welsh Rugby Union, saw his side lose 15-6 he could still go home happy knowing that the result didn’t affect qualification for the knock out stages of the contest – Wales had already secured their place in the quarter finals.

Featured photo credit: tsaiproject via Fickr