Article: Heads Together
August 2nd, 2017: Heads Together is a campaign launched by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and by Prince Harry to end the stigma attached to mental health. While doing their charitable work with veterans, the homeless and people from all walks of life facing life challenges, William, Catherine and Harry realized that often the common denominator is mental illness.
Unfortunately, while physical illness is openly discussed and people get treatment for it, mental illness has so much stigma attached to it that it prevents people from seeking treatment. What Heads Together hopes to do is to encourage an open discussion on mental health so that people become more comfortable seeking help and support. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry believe that the conversation on mental health can start small and simply with a family member, a friend, or a colleague. If this first step is taken, people will realize that they are not alone and that everybody faces mental health challenges at different stages of their lives. Prince Harry himself recalls the challenges of losing his mother at age 12 and wishes he had talked earlier with other people about his struggles.
On their website, Heads Together has posted several videos illustrating how this conversation on mental health can start by simply opening up to another person. The “conversation films” called #oktosay or #thereforme, show spouses, friends, mother and daughter pairs, and even acquaintances sharing a time when they began a conversation on mental health and how they have supported each other through the process of talking about their challenges of facing everyday life. These “conversation films” are powerful in that they show how sharing mental health struggles can begin the healing process. One of these videos is a Skype call between Prince William and Lady Gaga. Lady Gaga, having recently made public her struggle with depression, shares how the process of beginning to talk about her challenges has had a powerful positive impact on her life.
Heads Together has partnered with charities that have distinguished themselves for their work to raise awareness on mental health and to support individuals and families facing mental health challenges. Here are the charities partners:
- Best Beginnings
- CALM – The Campaign Against Living Miserably)
- Contact (a military mental health coalition)
- The Mix
- The Anna Freud Centre
Prince Harry hosted a BBQ in July of last year bringing together sport personalities to promote the campaign Heads Together. The idea behind this event was to show that even successful people like top athletes struggle with mental health issues. At the event was also former player of the England and Manchester United Rio Ferdinand who lost his wife Rebecca to breast cancer last year and recently lost his mother as well to the same disease. Rio Ferdinand commented that some of the struggles Prince Harry had gone through after losing his mother, his own children were facing while moving forward.
Heads Together was the ocharity of the year at the 2017 London Marathon (our article here). The event helped bring awareness to the Heads Together campaign and has helped open up the conversation about mental health in the UK. Runners of the Heads Together team were encouraged to share on videos personal stories on how reaching out to others has helped them begin to face their mental health struggles.
While reaching out to a family member or a friend is ideal, sometimes people with mental health struggles can still feel alone. On their website Heads Together lists a series of resources to get immediate help. They can be found at this link.
Pictures credited to Heads Together.