A joint statement released by the royals read:
‘Since we launched Heads Together last May, we have seen time and time again that shattering stigma on mental health starts with simple conversations. When you realise that mental health problems affect your friends, neighbours, children and spouses, the walls of judgement and prejudice around these issues begin to fall. And we all know that you cannot resolve a mental health issue by staying silent. Attitudes to mental health are at a tipping point. We hope these films show people how simple conversations can change the direction of an entire life. Please share them with your friends and families and join us in a national conversation on mental health in the weeks ahead.’
The release of the films coincided with news Prince Harry attended a two-day course to help people suffering from mental health issues while working with injured servicemen and women at the London District Personnel Recovery Unit. A source told the Mail Online: "Through his work with the personal recovery unit he attended a two-day course about how to help people with mental health issues in the veterans’ context. It’s about mental health first aid: what do you do when someone comes to you, what words should you use, which direction can you point them in? It also went through the range of issues veterans face." The Telegraph reports Prince William has also taken courses on mental health issues as part of his training with the East Anglian Air Ambulance.
The Telegraph reports:
'The videos, published online, are the next step in a building campaign which will next month culminate in the London Marathon, where around 700 runners including the Telegraph's Bryony Gordon will embark on 26.2 miles in aid of the charity.
A further 39,000 branded headbands will be available to any other runner who wishes to show their support for Heads Together, in recognition of how mental health affects copious other good causes. The Duke, Duchess and Prince Harry are understood to have actively explored taking part in the marathon themselves, but will not be running on April 23. The Duchess has previously said: "I think there might be a few security issues."'
Alongside the film series, Heads Together today published the most comprehensive survey of how people in Britain talk about their mental health. It was carried out by YouGov.
'It shows that almost half of us (46%) have talked recently about mental health, with a quarter of us talking about our own mental health. Eight out of ten people who have talked about their own mental health found these conversations helpful. The findings show Britain is ‘opening up’ about its mental health but equally highlight some of the challenges that still remain. Men are less likely to talk than women and people aged 18-24 are almost twice as likely to discuss mental health than those over 65. Also, fewer than one in five people who have had a conversation have talked to their GP and fewer than one in ten spoke either to a supervisor at work or a counsellor.'
After viewing the videos, I was particularly struck by the honesty and courage of the participants who were filmed with loved ones and those they first shared their struggles with. It takes considerable bravery to openly admit to having a problem and is the first step on the road to recovery. Publicly discussing taking that step is not an easy thing to do, and I applaud all those involved. A range of issues - from bereavement, addiction to anxiety and depression - are discussed. The videos show it's #oktosay
Alastair Campbell is best known for his role as former British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s spokesman, press secretary and director of communications and strategy. Alastair has campaigned relentlessly to end stigma around mental health. In this film, Alastair talks to his partner Fiona about his psychotic nervous breakdown in 1986, his addiction issues and the chronic depression he has experienced over the years. He says: "The thing I always do now, I always say to you when I feel the depression coming on, even if it’s only mild, and it used to be I would just go into lockdown, now the first thing I say is: 'I think I’m getting depressed again.'"
American actress, mental health campaigner, speaker and author Ruby Wax OBE speaks with her husband, Ed, about the first time she revealed her mental illness to him, when they were just about to get married. Ruby is an ambassador for Mind and SANE.
Stephen Manderson – better known by his stage name Professor Green – is an English rapper, singer, songwriter and documentary maker. He is also a patron of Calm, which is the charity dedicated to preventing male suicide in the UK. The musician, whose father committed suicide, has spoken openly about his own battle with the condition and campaigned extensively to break down the stigma around male mental health. "I was 24 when my dad took his own life and it wasn’t until years later…and I had a conversation with my Nan and we spoke about it properly. I broke down. I was petrified."
Maddy Austin is studying biochemistry at university and will be running the 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon for Place2Be, one of the charity partners of Heads Together. In the video she talks to her father, broadcaster Mark Austin, about her teenage battle with anorexia. Last month Mark wrote a moving piece for The Sunday Times: "One moment she was a vibrant, strong, energetic and beautiful young girl; the next, she had begun a rapid, dangerous descent towards what seemed, at times, certain death. That’s what anorexia does. I didn’t understand it at first. Cancer I understand: diseased cells multiplying, spreading." Since then he has given several radio interviews describing how harrowing it was to see his daughter battle anorexia. It's been quite a journey for Maddy and her family, however, she's clearly doing so well. I'm sure it will be very emotional for her family to see her run the London Marathon.
Dan is an emergency medical technician and he has been on the road since 2010. A couple of years ago he had a traumatic experience on the job and started having flashbacks and nightmares, later diagnosed as PTSD. He reached out and confided in his colleague, Rich, and attributes that conversation to helping him overcome it.
You may recall William, Kate and Harry introduced Dan and Rich at a World Mental Health Day event last October. As he addressed the audience Dan said: "What I’m going through is normal, and many people experience things like this from time to time."
Phil talks to his wife Julie about his mental health and the difference that speaking openly has made after he contracted Q Fever whilst serving as a Royal Marine in Iraq. It's desperately sad hearing him say he felt like a burden on his family and researching how much of his medication he would need to take for an overdose. Phil is now a Paralympics competitor.
To watch all ten videos please visit the Heads Together website or their YouTube channel. I thought the videos were excellently made and the topics, emotions and feelings discussed will resonate with many. The participants are from all different walks of life and it was very insightful to hear their individual paths to getting help. If you would like to help, Heads Together are asking as many people as possible to join the conversation by watching and sharing the videos and using the hashtags #oktosay and #HeadsTogether to share your input.
Two heads are better than one when it comes to our mental health. So when someone you know is going through a difficult time, it’s OK to ask how they are – and if you feel like you need to speak to someone, it’s OK to say so.- Heads Together
In terms of what's next for Heads Together, we should soon hear news on the documentary William, Kate and Harry filmed with Nick Knowles; it will be aired at some point in April. The London Marathon takes place on 23 April, and all three royals will be there cheering on runners. Around 700 people will run for Heads Together on the day.
Yesterday, it was confirmed William, Kate and Harry will attend a Service of Hope at Westminster Abbey on Wednesday, 5 April, in the wake of the terror attack in Westminster. Families of those killed in the attack, together with other victims, witnesses and first responders from the police, fire, paramedics, RNLI and NHS hospital services will also be in the congregation. The Home Secretary, the Rt Hon Amber Rudd MP, will be present alongside the Acting Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Craig Mackey. The service is at noon and will be broadcast live on the BBC.
Today, Prince William made an unannounced visit to St Thomas' Hospital to thank medical staff who helped save lives during the attack. A Kensington Palace spokeswoman said: "The Duke wanted to visit privately with some of those who were first to respond to the attacks." Among those who greeted William was London Ambulance Service chairman Heather Lawrence. "Our frontline crews and control room staff did an exceptional job in incredibly difficult circumstances," she said. "They stayed calm and provided excellent care to those affected and we are very grateful that Prince William has recognised everyone's efforts."
Medical responder Richard Webb-Stephen recalled the events:
'The public were amazingly helpful and comforted the injured while help was on the way and doctors and nurses ran out to help from the local hospital. I was very focused on treating patients and it wasn't until much later that I found out it was a terrorist attack. We train our whole lives for incidents like this and you hope it will never happen, but I consider it a privilege to do this job and play a small part in helping patients.'
Images of staff from St Thomas' running from the hospital to the scene of the attack to try to help as many as possible showed their incredible bravery and their immediate willingness to go above and beyond. I'm glad to see a member of the Royal family commending those who played such a vital role during such a frightening day.
Finally, we have several fashion updates on items worn by the Duchess. Kate's claret PHILOSOPHY DI LORENZO SERAFINI Double-breasted twill blazer is back in stock at Barneys and Net-A-Porter.
Kate's See by Chloé Lace Jersey Long Sleeve Dress is discounted from $460 to $345 at Saks Fifth Avenue. With thanks to the lovely Susan from What Kate Wore for the tip!
Middleton Maven shared news the Lela Rose dress Kate wore in Cornwall last September has been released in a new colour. The Half-Sleeve Wool Crepe Dress featuring a jewel neckline and A-line silhouette is available in salmon pink at Bergdorf Goodman.
And Kate's gorgeous new Gianvito Rossi Ankle Strap Suede d'Orsay Pumps remain available at Lane Crawford. Kate debuted the pumps in Paris, and they are described: "These Gianvito Rossi pumps demonstrate traditional Italian craftsmanship and designs in a d’Orsay silhouette. Softly structured from black suede, pointed-toe pair is finished with a buckle ankle strap for a slender sculpt."
Wishing you all a great weekend! We'll see Kate on Tuesday for the Opening Night of the musical 42nd Street at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane in aid of East Anglia's Children's Hospice.