The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry attend the launch of their Heads Together campaign to eliminate stigma on mental health
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry have launched their new campaign to end stigma around mental health. The Heads Together campaign will see them working in partnership with inspiring charities to change the national conversation on mental wellbeing.
Their Royal Highnesses are keen to build on the great work that is already taking place across the country, to ensure that people feel comfortable with their everyday mental wellbeing, feel able to support their friends and families through difficult times, and that stigma no longer prevents people getting the help they need.
The campaign launch at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in east London showcased the innovative work of the Heads Together charity partners who have achieved so much in tackling stigma, raising awareness, and providing vital help for people with mental health challenges. The team covers a wide range of mental health issues that are close to The Duke and Duchess and Prince Harry's passions. They are:
- The Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families
- Best Beginnings
- CALM – The Campaign Against Living Miserably
- Contact (a military mental health coalition)
- The Mix
Speaking at the launch The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry set out their ambitions for the Heads Together campaign.
The Duke of Cambridge
“Through our work with young people, emergency response, homeless charities, and with veterans, we have seen time and time again that unresolved mental health problems lie at the heart of some of our greatest social challenges.”
The Duchess of Cambridge
“Too often, people feel afraid to admit that they are struggling with their mental health. This fear of judgment stops people from getting the help they need, which can destroy families and end lives. Heads Together wants to help everyone feel much more confident with their everyday mental health, and to have the practical tools to support their friends and family.”
“The Heads Together campaign wants to involve all of you. We're already working with our partner charities and thousands of people to change the way that people think about mental health. We do not want prejudice and fear to stand in the way of people getting the help they need to cope with life. As the year progresses, the three of us – working with all of you in this room and others who will join us along the way – want to come up with practical ways of providing everyone who needs help with the right support and care. We want to build on the great work that others are already doing, but make it even more ambitious. By putting our heads together, we can all make a big difference.”
The Duke of Cambridge
“But first, Heads Together wants to get people talking. The more we talk about mental health, the more normal the topic becomes, and the more we feel able to open up and seek support. By asking for help, by telling a friend we have a problem, by asking someone else how they feel – by having a conversation – we take the first step to feeling better about ourselves – and the first step to being able to cope better with the ups and downs of life. This is relevant to everyone.
“So let's all get our heads together and let's change the conversation, from one of silence and shame to one of optimism and support. Thank you for joining us at the start of this exciting journey.”
Heads Together will be open for other organisations to join in the months ahead and will be supported by The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry.
Heads Together also has the huge privilege of being the 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon Charity of the Year, providing a positive platform for energetic and positive fundraising and awareness. Next year, hundreds of runners will hit the streets of London to help end stigma on mental health for good.
The Heads Together campaign is being generously supported by The Hans & Julia Rausing Trust, ShareGift and the first three Heads Together founding corporate partners - Dixons Carphone, Unilever UK and Virgin Money. This support will help amplify the aims of the campaign as well as fund specific projects designed to help us all with mental health.
Peter Fonagy, Chief Executive of the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families, said: “Often when people feel helpless in the face of adversity they feel they have little option except to repudiate and disown. Stigma gradually receded for people with cancer and HIV, and the same is in the process of happening, I am delighted to say, with mental health. As we see the most successful in our society disclosing mental health problems, as we see the brightest and most popular adopting the issue as their own, we also hear the dialogue of despair giving way to a conversation of hope, optimism and courage. The message of effective treatments, of groundbreaking research, of brilliant services is pushing stigma out and letting empathy, compassion and above all, effective support take its place.”