At a briefing at London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts on Tuesday, the royal trio outlined their plans and hopes for Heads Together, the foundation of their campaign to shine a light on mental health issues.
“The challenge that so many people have is not knowing how to take that first step of reaching out to another person for help,” Kate (in a floral “Evita” dress by Erdem) said in a brief speech. “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,” she said. “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.”
On April 23, runners in the London Marathon will head along the famed Mall toward the finishing line — including several hundred people raising money under the royals’ Heads Together banner. (Heads Together is the official charity of this year’s marathon.)
The marathon marks the one-year anniversary of Heads Together, and it will cap a series of events designed to foster open discussions about mental health and diminish any stigma associated with it.
William, 34, Kate, 35, and Harry, 32, want to show 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,” a palace statement says.
The organizations in the Heads Together partnership include charities such as Place2Be, which works in schools, the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families and a campaign dedicated to preventing male suicide, which William has been highlighting.
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Amid the public events and royal outings, the trio are also expected to appear in a documentary for the BBC.
Last week, the three were praised by a leading mental health expert for their role in raising awareness of the issue. Peter Fonagy, CEO of the Anna Freud National Centre, told PEOPLE that the campaign helped bring about “a national shift in terms of the acceptability of mental health as a problem that we all need to deal with.”