Prince William holds the cause of mental health in young people very close to his heart, so it comes as no surprise that he had a message for a Toronto youth mental health summit on Saturday (Mar. 3). Jack.org is a Canadian organization which aims to combat stigma surrounding mental health, and focuses on giving young people a voice - two goals that Prince William, Duchess Kate and Prince Harry's organization Heads Together has in common.
At one point during the conference, which saw speakers from all walks of life discuss their own struggles with mental health, the prince spoke to the crowd via a pre-recorded video, "Hello to everyone involved in Jack.org across Canada and a special welcome to the delegates of the sixth annual Jack Summit," he began. "Thank you for coming together to help change the mental health landscape."
His Royal Highness, Prince William is excited about #JackSummit. Are you?— Jack.org (@jackdotorg) March 4, 2018
"At https://t.co/dyf8kMyNbv, you put young people's perspectives at the centre of the issue. You give young people a voice, and with your passion, you're focused on real change."
When the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited Canada in 2016, they met delegates of the organization and were deeply affected by their work, "It has been 18 short months since we met 23 impressive Jack.org leaders during our visit to British Columbia, and since we heard about the promising work you were up to across the country," William shared with the audience. "I don't have to tell you how important the work you are doing on mental health is, nor how vital it is for young people to be able to speak out and feel comfortable talking about they mental health."
The organization was created in 2010 by Eric Windeler and Sandra Hanington after they lost their son Jack to suicide. In their founding year, Jack.org partnered with Canadian help line Kids Help Phone to create workshops and presentations designed for young people, to encourage them to seek support. Now, their staff supports 2,500 student leaders across Canada who are changing the dialogue around mental health in their respective communities.