Celebrities join Royals' emotional mental health campaign

Rhiannon Mills, Royal Correspondent

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry have stepped up their mental health campaign by commissioning a series of emotional videos they hope will encourage more people to talk.

Former England cricket captain Andrew 'Freddie' Flintoff, rapper Professor Green, former spin doctor Alastair Campbell and comic Ruby Wax are some of the stars who have opened up about their mental health challenges as part of the Heads Together Campaign.

The Duke and Duchess and Prince Harry asked public figures and ordinary individuals to be involved in the short videos, which show people talking to someone else about the life-changing conversations they had that helped with problems such as anxiety or depression.

Heads Together is the most ambitious joint project ever launched by the royal trio.

In partnership with eight charities they want to end the stigma surrounding mental health and encourage people to be as open about their mental health as their physical health.

Heads Together is also the main charity partner for this year's London marathon.

William, Kate and Harry said: "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."

A YouGov poll commissioned to coincide with the release of the videos found only 46% of adults have talked recently about mental health, with men and older people still more reluctant to talk.

In her video, Ruby Wax - who has been open about her battle with depression - talks with her husband, recalling how she told him that she "was mentally ill" as they walked down the aisle.

Andrew 'Freddie' Flintoff spoke about his fears that his fans would "turn their backs" on him if he spoke about his problems with mental health. But he found "it was the complete opposite".

He said: "The hardest thing for me initially was talking. I'm not a big talker, I'm from the north of England. I'm from a working class family. We don't talk about our feelings."

Professor Green, real name Stephen Manderson, who suffers from anxiety said it was important for public figures to be honest about their issues.

He added: "The problem with a lot of mental health issues - depression, anxiety, anything - is it becomes insular and you feel like you're the only one suffering with it and because you don't talk to someone about it, you don't ever realise you're not."

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