The British Royal Family is Changing How We Look at Mental Health
When you think of the monarchy, a few things may spring immediately to mind: the Queen, crown jewels, fashionable princesses, and historic palaces, to start. But chances are, mental health would not be something that is mentioned in any particular conversation regarding the Royal Family.
But that may all change with the founding of a new initiative in the United Kingdom, Heads Together, a mental health advocacy group founded by Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge and heir to the British throne, Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, and Prince Harry of Wales.
On the Heads Together website, the founders write: “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.”
To combat those unresolved mental health problems, William, Catherine, and Harry decided to create an organization that would help provide practical tools for people to take better care of their day-to-day mental and emotional well-being as well as provide support and resources to friends and family struggling with mental health disorders.
This inspired group of Royals jointly introduced their new endeavor in January 2017. Prince William told the London press that he hoped the New Year would bring with it a “tipping point” when it comes to mental health.
“Talking to someone else is a positive and confident step to take— but for too long it has been a case of ‘keep quiet and carry on.’ As a result, too many people have suffered in silence for too long, and the effects of this can be devastating,” he said.
His wife, Catherine, agreed with that sentiment and added, “We have seen that two heads are better than one when dealing with a mental health problem. William, Harry and I have been very privileged to witness in the course of our work countless examples of simple conversations that have changed lives, which were the first step on a path to recovery.”
While there have been great strides in reducing mental health stigma both in the United Kingdom and the United States in past years, their hope is that Heads Together will help continue that trend and change the national conversation regarding mental health. They hope to reshape the language used and negative associations linked to mental health disorders, so that people can stop suffering in silence and reach out for the help they need.
The organization is also working to provide tools and resources to friends and family of those with mental health issues—so, they too, can support their loved ones as they seek assistance. Because, often, getting the right support early can make all the difference.
As Harry said in January while helping to introduce Heads Together, “The truth is we can all help each other. You don’t need any qualifications to help your mate out, simply to listen to what they have to say. At the heart of this campaign is our hope that no-one should be afraid to ask for help, and no-one should worry about knowing how to help. That initial conversation could be the cure, before it has a chance to manifest itself.”
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