Today is World Mental Health Day, and to mark it, Prince William and Harry hosted a reception at St James’ Palace to praise those who worked with the Heads Together campaign, before they joined The Duchess of Cambridge in the evening for a celebratory reception at Buckingham Palace.
In the last 18 months, William, Kate and Harry have taken a keen interest in mental wellbeing, even giving interviews about their own struggles.
The reception this morning at St James’s Palace was organised to thank those who helped to make the Royals’ mental health awareness programme – Heads Together – a success.
William praised his brother for the work he does trying to help military veterans in the journeys of recovery after fighting in conflicts around the world.
The Duke said in the weeks leading up the Marathon, the country had a conversation that was truly national. pic.twitter.com/HFlQ9I7ovC
— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) October 10, 2017
The Duke told the London Evening Standard newspaper: “Harry had seen that it was not enough to help veterans recover from their physical injuries without acknowledging the emotional and mental support they required.”
William also spoke about his wife’s work in the area of mental health. He said, “It was Catherine who first realised that all three of us (Harry, William and Kate) 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 met a former Royal Marine, Phil Eaglesham, who is suffering from a mental illness after serving in Afghanistan. The Marine’s assistance dog, Cooper, shook a paw with the Prince as he crouched down.
Eaglesham said that Cooper “recognises Harry straight away and gets so over-excited”.
“Dogs are a very good judge of character — they can smell when something’s wrong,” he explained. “We all look up to him for doing this. He’s young and been in war zones and has experienced being in the same sort of areas. And that means a lot to veterans who may be struggling. He knows what people are going through.”
Harry yesterday launched a new partnership to improve the mental health of serving and retired military personnel alongside Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon.
Today also marked the first public appearance of Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge since falling ill with severe morning sickness due to her third pregnancy.
William, Kate and Harry attended another reception at Buckingham Palace this evening with invited mental health workers, to recognise their contribution in the field.
350 politicians, health workers, and charity workers from across the country attended, including Stephen Fry (president of MIND charity), Dame Esther Ranzen, Nick Clegg, and Bryony Gordon, who conducted Prince Harry’s revealing interview.
The Duke of Cambridge gave a speech, saying: “Tonight, we are here to celebrate decades of tireless campaigning; after thousands of people have given their time and energy; and after many brave individuals have had the courage to come forward and share their stories, mental health is no longer a Cinderella issue.
“Catherine has been inspired by the work being done to support children, parents and teachers to prioritise mental health from the earliest years of life,” William explained, speaking in the gallery of Buckingham Palace.
“Harry has seen first-hand that recovery from emotional challenges is every bit as important as recovery from physical injury for our veterans.
“And through my work with homelessness and responding to emergencies both as a Search and Rescue and HEMS pilot, I have seen how serious the consequences of poor mental health can be.”
A spokesperson told the media that the Duchess was ‘delighted’ to be attending the reception, but that she was still battling with her pregnancy-related illness.
“The Duchess’ condition is improving but she’s still suffering from Hyperemesis Gravidarum.”
Dame Esther Rantzen said: “We are seeing with Childline more and more contact both online and over the phone from young people suffering with mental health issues such as depression, anxiety and eating disorders. It can be a very stigmatising issue.
“Similarly with older people, this is a significant issue. And many have needed encouragement to talk.
“In speaking about their own mental health issues, particularly relating to the loss of their mother at such a young age, they are making such a huge difference. It is a remarkable and wonderful legacy.”