The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry joined forces to deliver a powerful speech on mental health on Tuesday (Jan. 17). The royal trio were attending a briefing at the Institute of Contemporary Art in London to outline the next phase of their Heads Together campaign.
William, Kate and Harry emphasized the need to tackle stigma and change the conversation on mental health.
"We believe that 2017 can be a tipping point for mental health," the future King said as he opened proceedings.
His wife Kate, who looked lovely in a floral Erdem number, reiterated William's message that 2017 is the "tipping point" for mental health.
"We have seen that two heads are better than one when dealing with a mental health problem," she said. "Yet, the challenge that so many people have is not knowing how to take that first step of reaching out to another person for help. Admitting that they are not coping. Fear, or reticence, or a sense of not wanting to burden another, means that people suffer in silence – allowing the problem to grow larger and larger unchecked."
The Duchess then spoke about her, William and Harry's hopes for people to start having more conversations about mental health, particularly in the lead up to the London Marathon in April. This year Heads Together has been chosen as the Charity of the Year for the 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon.
"What Heads Together is proposing is that in the weeks leading up to the Marathon, our campaign will showcase people from all walks of life, talking about the life-changing conversations that have helped them with their mental health challenges," said Kate. "We hope that these real-life examples will serve as encouragement to others to do the same."
Harry joined in, saying: "It has been unbelievably encouraging to see that attitudes towards mental health across the country are beginning to change. In the past, the phrase 'mental health' would be translated to mental illness. But thankfully that is changing!"
"We are all wired differently," he said. "We all have mental health; and we'll say it again and again and again, if you want to be fit, healthy and set yourself up for success then your mental fitness is absolutely as important as your physical fitness. Everyone would get help for a broken leg, so why not seek help for an issue that could hamper you and others around you."
Harry concluded by making an appeal to his audience. "Every single one of you in this room can help too," he said. "You are all role models and highly respected people in your industries - the way you talk about mental health will have a profound effect on millions of people, whether you're speaking from personal experience or encouraging those around you to do the same.
"So please could I encourage you all to have a conversation with the Heads Together team, who are here today, and share your ideas. We need as many people as possible – famous or not – who can help showcase what it's like to have a conversation with a friend, family or stranger. All your ideas are welcome."
The royals met a range of attendees at the briefing, including the Heads Together charity partners and representatives from the media, technology, business and voluntary sectors.
William spoke to rapper Professor Green, who opened up about his own experiences with anxiety. After their meeting the musician said: "I've always had anxiety. Before I knew it was anxiety I used to tell my nan that I had a bellyache. Later in life my dad took his own life and so did his brother. I know a lot of people who have suffered a hell of a lot due to mental health issues so it's something that means a hell of a lot to me.
"We see being sad or being scared as a vulnerability but there's a real strength to be taken from being honest about how you feel. People think that being hard is being strong and it's quite often the opposite. The image of masculinity is one of being hard but being hard and being strong are two completely different things. That's what I want to get across to people. The conversation that I had with William we were saying the same things to each other about how there is that common misconception between being hard and being strong and they are two completely different things."
William, Harry and Kate launched the campaign last year in partnership with eight leading mental health charities and three founding partners.