Prince William, Kate Middleton, and Prince Harry “released” a new Heads Together video series called #OkToSay which sees various people discuss opening up about mental health problems. And by “released”, I mean Heads Together made a video series and released it, and the royals get credit for doing nothing.
[Photo is from the Heads Together launch video from May 2016]
The ten films in the #OkToSay series is part of the Heads Together mental health campaign. The films feature people from all walks of life talking, often with the person that they first opened up to, about the life changing conversation that helped them cope with their mental health problems – from anxiety, alcoholism, and depression through to loneliness, trauma, and bereavement.
The series of films includes: two moms of young children; musician Stephen Manderson (Professor Green) and Cricketer Freddie Flintoff; a journalist and her friend; comedian Ruby Wax and her husband Ed; two paramedics based in Blackpool; model Adwoa Aboah with her mom; a blogger and her mom; and writer Alastair Campbell talking with his partner, Fiona. The directors who have given their time to help create and support the films include Stephen Frears, Hugh O’Connor, John Madden, John Crowley, Paul Katis, and Sam Blair.
Alongside the film series, Heads Together published “the most comprehensive survey” of how people in Britain talk about their mental health carried out by YouGov – although I have not found a link to the results on the HT site. According to Heads Together, the survey shows that almost half of UK citizens (46%) have talked recently about mental health, with a quarter of them talking about their own mental health. Eight out of ten people who have talked about their own mental health found these conversations helpful. The findings show Britain is ‘opening up’ about its mental health but equally highlight some of the challenges that still remain. Men are less likely to talk than women and people aged 18-24 are almost twice as likely to discuss mental health than those over 65. Also, fewer than one in five people who have had a conversation have talked to their general doctor and fewer than one in ten spoke either to a supervisor at work or a counselor.
William, Kate, and Harry’s statement about the films:
“Since we launched Heads Together last May, we have seen time and time again that shattering stigma on mental health starts with simple conversations. When you realise that mental health problems affect your friends, neighbours, children and spouses, the walls of judgement and prejudice around these issues begin to fall. And we all know that you cannot resolve a mental health issue by staying silent. Attitudes to mental health are at a tipping point. We hope these films show people how simple conversations can change the direction of an entire life. Please share them with your friends and families and join us in a national conversation on mental health in the weeks ahead.”
[Heads Together press release]
It was also revealed the Harry undertook a two day training course to help veterans suffering from mental health issues. A source said:
“Through his work with the personal recovery unit he attended a two-day course about how to help people with mental health issues in the veterans’ context. It’s about mental health first aid: what do you do when someone comes to you, what words should you use, which direction can you point them in? It also went through the range of issues veterans face. PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) isn’t the stigma that it once was, but it is sometimes used as a catch-all diagnosis when other issues such an depression and anxiety may be more appropriate.”
Another engagement has been added to Kate’s schedule. On April 5, next week, Kate will join William and Harry in attending a Service of Hope at Westminster Abbey following the terror attack in Westminster last week. Families of those killed in the attack, together with other victims, witnesses and first responders from the police, fire, ambulance and NHS hospital services will also be in the congregation.
You can view the #OkToSay video series here. I’ve embedded a few of the films.