Ahead of the royal arrival the Palace said: "Heads Together wants to use the privilege of being Charity of the Year for the 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon to tackle stigma and change the conversation on mental health. With fewer than 100 days to the London Marathon on Sunday 23rd April, Their Royal Highnesses will open up the Heads Together campaign to organisations to become supporters that can help get the country talking about mental health in 2017."
The royals were greeted upon arrival.
Heads Together has very much been a project the young royals are extremely passionate about. There were several reports of late suggesting the initiative was actually Kate's brainchild and, along with William and Harry, the trio felt it was a subject they could really put their stamp on. I've noted before one of the advantages of being second-in-line is the ability to devote one's attention to a cause such as this and other areas of interest. The stigma attached to mental health remains all too often, and the fear of judgement can stop those most in need getting help. Ultimately, this campaign is about getting people to talk and open up.
Today's engagement brought together Heads Together charity partners and supporters with leaders from the UK, ranging from media and technology to business and the voluntary sector. It was an opportunity for the royals and other speakers to preview some of the themes and initiatives people can expect to see in the months ahead. The main goal of the campaign in the run up to the marathon will be to show people how important it is to just start a conversation with a friend, family member, colleague, or a professional when dealing with a mental health challenge.
Below, the Duchess chatting with news presenter Sian Williams.
The royals met London Marathon, Heads Together runners and posed for photos.
The Mirror reports Kate was sceptical when she heard of William's plans to run a marathon in Kenya one day. More from The Mirror:
'Good Morning Britain presenter Sean Fletcher, who is running the 26.2 mile course for charity Young Minds after his 13-year-old son was recently diagnosed with OCD, said: "I chatted to Prince William and he has promised that he will run a marathon in Kenya sometime. "Then I spoke to Kate and she said 'I'll believe it when I see it'." The presenter added: "This is all very new to me, I'm learning very fast because of my son's situation.'
Kate adjusted Jon Salmon's headband before photos were taken.
The trio gave speeches outlining their vision for the campaign in 2017. William said "Mental health matters to each and every one of us. It matters just as much as our physical health. It's no exaggeration to say that conversations – simple conversations – can be life-changing. It is our ambition to make the Virgin Money London Marathon the Mental Health Marathon – to help change the conversation on mental health."
The Duchess added "We have heard time and time again in the course of our work how talking can help heal the hidden challenges we can’t deal with alone, So the question that William, Harry and I have asked ourselves is how we can get more people to start talking".
Prince Harry said "We can all help each other. You don't need any qualifications to help your mate, simply to listen to what they have to say. At the heart of this campaign is our hope that no-one should be afraid to ask for help, and no-one should worry about knowing how to help."
The full speeches from the Heads Together website:
Prince William -
'Thank you Sir Keith. And thank you to everyone here today for being enthusiastic about Heads Together. We launched the campaign last year and are extremely proud to support the life-changing work of our eight Charity Partners. We are also very grateful for the support of our Founding Partners. Mental health matters to each and every one of us. It matters just as much as our physical health. The crews I have worked with, whether RAF Search and Rescue or Air Ambulance, must take their mental health as seriously as they do their physical health or else they would not cope – and, actually, that is true for everybody at some time or another in their life. There are times when, whoever we are, it is hard to cope with challenges – and when that happens being open and honest and asking for help is life-changing.
Talking to someone else is a positive and confident step to take – but for too long it has been a case of ‘Keep Quiet and Carry On’. As a result, too many people have suffered in silence for too long, and the effects of this can be devastating.
The three of us are really optimistic that things are changing. We believe that 2017 can mark a tipping point for mental health – a moment when more and more people no longer feel they have to bear the weight alone for fear of judgment.
It is no exaggeration to say that conversations – simple conversations – can be life-changing: in a workplace, in your kitchen at home, with a friend, family member or colleague. And that’s what Catherine, Harry and I want to do – we want more people to be having those conversations. It is our ambition to make this year’s Virgin Money London Marathon the Mental Health Marathon – a major opportunity to help change the conversation on mental health, and to get people talking. And for that, we really need your help. '
The Duchess of Cambridge -
'As William has said we have heard time and time again in the course of our work how talking can help heal the hidden challenges we can’t deal with alone. We have seen that two heads are better than one when dealing with a mental health problem.
Yet, the challenge that so many people have is not knowing how to take that first step of reaching out to another person for help. Admitting that they are not coping. Fear, or reticence, or a sense of not wanting to burden another, means that people suffer in silence – allowing the problem to grow larger and larger unchecked.
William, Harry and I have been very privileged to witness in the course of our work countless examples of simple conversations that have changed lives, which were the first step on a path to recovery. Just last week at the Anna Freud Centre, I heard from one mother how talking to a support worker was – in her words – like medicine. Simply by having someone there to have a conversation with helped her immensely.
So the question that William, Harry and I have asked ourselves is how we can get more people to start talking. How do we encourage people to take the first step. What Heads Together is proposing is that in the weeks leading up to the Marathon, our campaign will showcase people from all walks of life, talking about the life-changing conversations that have helped them with their mental health challenges.
We hope that these real-life examples will serve as encouragement to others to do the same. If we succeed with this, we will have taken a powerful step in normalizing mental health as an issue in our society, thinking about it as we do our own physical health. Harry will explain more in a moment about what you can do to help us with this challenge. But first I would like to introduce Jon, who is running for Heads Together in the Marathon; and Steve, who will tell you the story of how a conversation made such a big difference to their mental health.
Jon and Steve … thank you. '
Prince Harry -
'Thank you, Jon and Steve, for sharing your conversation and the impact that it’s had on your lives; and thank you Jon for running for Heads Together. I’m reliably informed that you’ll run it in under four hours! Good luck with your training!
Over 500 people will be running for Heads Together, leading from the front (well perhaps not right at the front!), raising funds for the vital services provided by our Charity Partners. These runners will also be leading by example by starting conversations on mental health with their families, friends and colleagues.
It has been unbelievably encouraging to see that attitudes towards mental health across the country are beginning to change. In the past, the phrase ‘mental health’ would be translated to mental illness. But thankfully that is changing! As a result of family, school or work pressures, everyone’s lives are lived at a frightening pace and these stresses can often seem overwhelming.
Some will ignore the signs of stress, others will insist they’re ok after losing a loved one. Some will be afraid to ask for help, others won’t have anyone to turn to. One thing is certain, we are all wired differently. We all have mental health; and we’ll say it again and again and again, if you want to be fit, healthy and set yourself up for success then your mental fitness is absolutely as important as your physical fitness. Everyone would get help for a broken leg, so why not seek help for an issue that could hamper you and others around you.
The truth is we can all help each other. You don’t need any qualifications to help your mate out, simply to listen to what they have to say. At the heart of this campaign is our hope that no-one should be afraid to ask for help, and no-one should worry about knowing how to help. That initial conversation could be the cure, before it has a chance to manifest itself.
The BBC have announced today that they are running a season on mental health to coincide with the Marathon, which is fantastic news. But every single one of you in this room can help too. You are all role models and highly respected people in your industries – the way you talk about mental health will have a profound effect on millions of people, whether you’re speaking from personal experience or encouraging those around you to do the same. So please could I encourage you all to have a conversation with the Heads Together team, who are here today, and share your ideas. We need as many people as possible – famous or not – who can help showcase what it’s like to have a conversation with a friend, family or stranger. All your ideas are welcome. '
Rebecca English shared a video of Kate's portion.
It was hoped the young royals would announce plans to participate in the marathon. Richard Palmer reports security fears meant this could not be realised:
"The royal trio would have liked to compete but it was ruled out on the grounds that policing the 26-mile course through the capital would be a security nightmare. However, William, Kate and Harry will be cheering from the sidelines and plan to use the event on April 23 to promote their campaign to get Britain talking about mental health problems and how to overcome them."
Musician and singer Professor Green spoke eloquently to the press as he left. The artist made a very moving documentary, Suicide and Me, focusing on the suicide of his estranged father. It's a topic close to his heart and it's very encouraging to see high-profile figures getting involved and sharing their stories and views.
Eloquent from @professorgreen on mental health, masculinity and where we go from here @heads_together pic.twitter.com/ffFX2XmTnM— Rebecca English (@RE_DailyMail) January 17, 2017
A lovely photo of William, Kate and Harry leaving the briefing.
I must say, I immediately loved the look of Kate's Erdem dress today. It is such a versatile and chic piece which could take the Duchess from a lunchtime briefing to an evening reception. Kate wore the designer's Evita Dress in Black Lily Collage.
Made in Portugal, the £1,050 dress is described: "Transitioning as effortlessly between seasons as it does from day to evening, the Evita Dress possesses an innate elegance. Vibrant lilies in yellow, green and blue boldly punctuate a light weight, textured black matelassé background; intensely gathered around the waist, neckline and down the sleeves, delicate sprigs fall freely on the skirt, adding free spirited appeal to the formality of the demure silhouette."
A closer look at the beautiful floral print - Erdem's signature.
The Duchess teamed the dress with her popular Tod's Fringed Leather Pumps. Kate debuted the sold out £267 shoes during the Canada tour. They feature an almond toe, fringed detailing and a metal buckle.
Kate carried her Mulberry clutch.
And completed the look with her $190 Oscar de la Renta Hammered Gold-Plated, Faux Pearl Earrings.
|Oscar de la Renta|
A look at the earrings on Kate today.
And how amazing did Kate's hair look today?
You can view a video from the briefing here with lovely footage from the speeches and others involved in the campaign.
A fantastic look for Kate today and great to see efforts for Heads Together continuing. I know some were disappointed we didn't hear more today, however, it was great to see all three talking, including Kate's reference to Anna Freud Centre reflecting on a conversation she had just last week. It's also excellent to see figures from the media and sports world getting behind them. My one peeve with the day: when the royals arrived and exited the car they were within very close proximity of several respected royal reporters and didn't greet them. Richard Palmer reported: "William noticeably blanked us all from two feet away. Charming." While Emily Andrews added: "Said hello and Wills ignored... Oh dear." I thought it quite poor behaviour given the support the media has shown for Heads Together and entirely unnecessary to put a dampener on a positive event for their campaign. We're never going to see the royals having conversations with the press at engagements (although, a quick informal chat with reporters on the initiative would have really amped up the event), but when one is in a situation where they are greeted upon arrival, it's costs nothing to be polite - especially considering today was all about spreading the word on their ambitions for Heads Together. The relationship between the Royal family and the media needs to be fostered and a little gesture such as "hello" goes a long way...