The Royal Foundation has released ‘groundbreaking’ videos ahead of the London Marathon 2017 to raise awareness for Virgin Money’s Charity of the Year.
In 2016, it was announced that Heads Together is the Virgin Money London Marathon 2017 Charity of the Year; runners can choose to either fundraise specifically for one of the eight involved charities, or for The Royal Foundation itself.
One of the eight charities, Contact, is a military charity of particular importance for Prince Harry, who has seen fellow servicemen suffer at the hand of post-traumatic stress disorder, having served in the army for ten years.
The Heads Together campaign is the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry’s latest project. Launched last May, the campaign aims to raise awareness of, and change the conversation around mental health, bringing eight different mental health charities together in the process.
The eight charity partners are:
- Best Beginnings
- CALM – The Campaign Against Living Miserably
- Anna Freud Centre for Children and Families
‘#oktosay’ is the hashtag accompanying the ten short films released by Their Royal Highnesses for the Heads Together mental health campaign. The films show people opening up about their experience with mental health problems of many varieties.
In a press release for the campaign, the royals said that, “shattering stigma on mental health starts with simple conversations”. The short films show simple conversations between two people about the simple conversations that changed their lives.
In a YouGov survey, published by Heads Together, the results show that 46% of people have recently discussed their mental health, and 80% of people found those conversations helpful. However, less than 10% have sought help from a counsellor.
Our research shows that while nearly half of the British public has had a conversation about mental health in the past three months, there is still a long way to go. – Stephan Shakespeare, YouGov CEO
‘Get the whole country talking’
Madame Tussauds, a popular tourist attraction in the capital city, has shown their support for the campaign by putting the blue Heads Together headbands on some of the famous wax statues, including Will.I.Am. and Usain Bolt.
Among many events attended by Their Royal Highnesses was a ‘Heads Together Training Day’ on the new London Marathon Community Track. Runners were joined by the royals and previous marathon winners for a day of training ahead of the big race on the 23rd April.
“Having the royal family raise awareness for mental health is very clever,” says one member of the public, “because people, especially in Britain, are obsessed with the Royal family, so [mental health] should get a lot of attention with William, Kate and Harry promoting it.”
The royal trio have announced that they will be on the sidelines to cheer on all the runners in what they hope will be the ‘mental health marathon’.
Prince Harry’s personal struggle
Prince Harry has disclosed his own struggles in a candid interview for Bryony Gordon’s podcast, Mad World. Showing that mental health can affect anyone, Prince Harry commented that he “shut down his emotions” after his mother’s death when he was 12, and only sought help 20 years later.
The full podcast is available here at The Telegraph online.