The Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry's speech at a reception to celebrate the impact of Heads Together
Published 10 October 2017
The success of Heads Together was down to you. You changed the conversation on mental health
The Duke of Cambridge:
Today, we are here to say thank you. Thank you to everybody.
When Catherine, Harry and I launched Heads Together, it is fair to say that we were ambitious about what it could achieve.
It was Catherine who first realised that all three of us were working on mental health in our individual areas of focus.
She had seen that at the core of adult issues like addiction and family breakdown, unresolved childhood mental health issues were often part of the problem.
Harry had seen that it wasn’t enough to help veterans recover from their physical injuries without acknowledging the emotional and mental support they required.
And after years of working with the homeless, and having been called out to multiple scenes of suicide as a Search and Rescue and then HEMS pilot, I understood the damage poor mental health was causing to our communities and for our families.
We decided to assemble a coalition of charities – comprised of people who had spent decades working to bring mental health out of the shadows – to campaign together to change the national conversation on mental health.
And in the weeks leading up to this year's Virgin Money London Marathon, this country had a conversation on mental health that for the first time was positive and truly national.
Up and down the country;
in schools and workplaces;
in towns, cities, and villages;
among men and women;
between young and old – the UK was finally talking about mental health.
And they were talking without sadness, and without stigma. They were talking in a frank way, with everyday language, and without fear of judgement, to their friends, to their partners, to their children, and to their colleagues.
Catherine, Harry and I are of course proud to have played our part in this. But it was the people in this room who really made it happen – our partners in Heads Together; the stars of the Ok to Say films; the sponsors who gave generously; the runners who hit the streets of London;
As well as the media organisations who helped tell the stories – the success of Heads Together was down to you. You changed the conversation on mental health.
And now we are going to keep working with you to help people have better conversations on mental health wherever they are and whenever they need them. Thank you and huge congratulations for all you have achieved.
As William has said, we are incredibly grateful to all of you for your contribution to Heads Together. We wanted to invite you here to express our thanks in person for the success of the campaign.
But while we are all here to mark what has been achieved, we all know that there is much more still to be done. All of you contributed to the first truly national conversation on mental health.
All of you helped change the language around this issue, shifting away from fear and shame, to a more open and optimistic sense about what we can achieve when we simply start talking.
All of you showed what is possible when we get our Heads Together.
And now we need all of your expertise, all of your energy, and all of your enthusiasm to provide the tools and space for people to have conversations on mental health wherever they are.
Our Royal Foundation has announced a £2 million investment to create a new digital start up that will develop solutions to help people get online support in times of crisis and times of calm as well.
Yesterday we announced a new partnership with the Ministry of Defence that will see the entire defence community – service men and women, veterans, and the MoD civilian population – get better information and training on mental health and mental fitness.
In the months ahead, we will announce new partnerships to support better conversations in schools and workplaces.
All of this work is proving that two heads – or three, or four, or more – really are better than one. Our charity partners are constantly coming up with new ideas that are only possible through collaboration.
When we work together, we are greater than the sum of our parts.
And we can achieve extraordinary things.
William, Catherine and I consider it a privilege to work with all of you.
And we look forward to celebrating more Heads Together successes in the years ahead.
And Happy World Mental Health Day.