William and Kate urge people to keep talking about mental health

Laura Elston
·3-min read

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have stressed the importance of talking about mental health, warning that more still needs to be done to remove the stigma that surrounds it.

William and Kate recorded a message of support to mark the end of the Time to Change campaign which has run for nearly 15 years.

The video was released less than three weeks after William’s brother the Duke of Sussex told Oprah Winfrey he was ashamed of admitting to his family that the Duchess of Sussex needed help when she was suicidal.

“That’s just not a conversation that would be had,” Harry said in his bombshell televised interview.

Mental health has been at the forefront of William and Kate’s royal duties for a number of years, with the couple launching the Heads Together initiative alongside Harry.

The Cambridges, in their message which was shared on social media on Thursday, highlighted the need to prioritise mental health as much as physical health.

Kate said, as she sat side-by-side with William: “The work isn’t done yet, and we cannot afford to stop here.”

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The duke added: “We need to keep talking, keep taking action and continue to stand up to the stigma.”

Kate continued: “It’s so important that we value our mental health just as much as we value our physical health.”

In the Sussexes’ interview, Harry and Meghan accused the royal family of racism and said the institution failed to help Meghan when she was suicidal, even when she begged for help.

In the video, William said that, although action was still needed, mental health had moved into the mainstream of daily life and he thanked those who had taken part in the Time to Change initiative.

Global Ministerial Mental Health Summit
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at a 2018 global mental health summit in which Time to Change took part (Eddie Mulholland/Daily Telegraph/PA)

“We wanted to say a big thank you to everyone who has shared their experiences and taken action through Time to Change, helping to challenge the stigma which surrounds mental health,” the duke said.

Kate added: “Movements like Time to Change have helped to transform attitudes and encouraged more openness about mental health in schools, communities and the workplace.”

The mental health anti-stigma campaign closes in England on March 31 when its funding ends.

Additional funding was sought from the Government but was not granted, Time to Change said.

Some 5.4 million people – a change of 12.7% – had improved their attitudes to those living with mental health problems over the last decade-and-a-half, the campaign said.

More than 7,500 champions with experience of mental health problems, 1,500 employers, 3,000 secondary schools and a network of 50 regional Time to Change Hubs were involved in the initiative.

William said: “Over the past 15 years, Time to Change Champions have inspired and supported thousands of people across the country.

“And mental health has now, at last, moved into the mainstream as part of our daily lives.”

The message was played at a virtual celebration held to thank those involved in the drive.

The event also featured a short film made with supporters including Ruby Wax and Trisha Goddard.

The movement first received funding in 2006 and was launched in 2007 to inspire a more open culture around mental health.

It initially received money from Comic Relief and the National Lottery Community Fund, with the Department of Health and Social Care also contributing from 2011 onwards.