Prince William and Kate Middleton record message about tackling mental health stigma


The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have recorded a personal message about tackling mental health stigma which was played at a virtual celebratory event for Time to Change today. 

Speaking from Anmer Hall, Prince William, 38, said: ‘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.’ 

Kate Middleton, who donned a black roll-neck and wore her brown hair down, continued: ‘Movements like Time to Change have helped to transform attitudes and encouraged more openness about mental health in schools, communities and the workplace.’

The Duke of Cambridge went on to say how over the past 15 years, Time to Change Champions have ‘inspired and supported thousands of people across the country’ – adding that mental health has ‘at last moved into the mainstream as part of our daily lives.’

While the royal couple expressed a personal thank you to the many people who, through the mental health anti-stigma campaign Time to Change, have inspired a more open culture around mental health, Kate warned that the ‘work isn’t done yet.’ 

‘We cannot afford to stop here,’ the duchess continued, to which William added: ‘We need to keep talking, keep taking action and continue to stand up to the stigma.’ 

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge recorded a message for Time to Change which was played at a virtual celebratory event this afternoon, marking almost 15 years of Time to Change tackling mental health stigma

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge recorded a message for Time to Change which was played at a virtual celebratory event this afternoon, marking almost 15 years of Time to Change tackling mental health stigma

Kate also went on to highlight the importance of valuing our mental health just as much as we value our physical health – before she and William said a joint ‘thank you’ to everyone who has been a part of Time to Change.

The message comes ahead of Time to Change’s closure in England on 31 March when its funding ends. 

Since Time to Change launched, 5.4 million people have improved attitudes towards those of us living with mental health problems. 

Not only that, research shows people’s willingness to live, work and continue a relationship with someone experiencing a mental health problem has also increased by 11.6%.

The success of the Time to Change campaign is thanks to the thousands of people and organisations who have joined the movement over the last 15 years; over 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. 

The virtual event saw a cross section of these supporters reflect on the campaign’s defining moments as well as celebrating its achievements. 

Jo Loughran, Director of Time to Change, commented: ‘As the Time to Change campaign in England comes to a close, we want to thank each and every person who has joined our movement to change the way we think and act about mental health over almost 15 years. 

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's recording comes just weeks after Prince Harry and Meghan's bombshell tell-all interview Oprah Winfrey interview. Pictured, the tell-all interview

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s recording comes just weeks after Prince Harry and Meghan’s bombshell tell-all interview Oprah Winfrey interview. Pictured, the tell-all interview

‘No matter how big or small, every contribution has mattered; every conversation on Time to Talk Day, every champion who’s spoken about their experiences in their communities, to colleagues or fellow pupils, every post shared on social media, every employer who’s signed the pledge.

‘Together, we’ve brought mental health problems out of the shadows. We’ve stood up for the 1 in 4 of us who experience mental health problems each year and made it more acceptable to speak up, challenge stigma and discrimination, and seek help. And for that we should all be immensely proud.’

Changes in attitudes and behaviour towards mental health problems over the course of the Time to Change campaign include: 

• an improvement in public attitudes by 12.7%, equating to 5.4 million people;

• an increase in public knowledge around mental health of 10%;

• an improvement in intended behaviour towards those of us with mental health problems by 11.6% of the population;

• a reduction in discrimination reported by people with lived experience;

• and an improvement in the way the print media report mental health problems

Time to Change was set up in 2007 by the charities Mind, Mental Health Media, Rethink Mental Illness and the IOPPN, King’s College London in response to people reporting that the attitudes and behaviours of others towards them could be as difficult, if not more difficult, to deal with than the mental health problem itself.

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

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s recording comes just weeks after Prince Harry and Meghan’s bombshell tell-all interview Oprah Winfrey interview aired, where they said racism drove them out of Britain and claimed their son Archie was denied the title of prince because he is mixed-race.  

During the tell-all interview, Meghan Markle also claimed that Kate Middleton left her in tears during a row over bridesmaid dresses and Prince Harry accused his father Prince Charles of refusing to take his calls when the pair emigrated to the US last year.    

CBS presenter Gayle King since told how she had spoken to the Sussexes who told her that Harry had talked to the Duke of Cambridge and Prince of Wales after the interview. 

But she said the conversations were ‘not productive’ and the Sussexes were keen for the ‘royals to intervene and tell the Press to stop with the unfair, inaccurate, false stories that definitely have a racial slant’. 

Ms King, 66, who is also close friends with Oprah, failed to give any examples of the stories she was referring to, but added that Meghan had ‘documents to back up everything that she said on Oprah’s interview’.

She told CBS: ‘Well I’m not trying to break news, but I did actually call them to see how they were feeling, and it’s true, Harry has talked to his brother and he has talked to his father too. 

Bombshells from the Oprah interview 

– Meghan’s mental health

The Duchess of Sussex revealed she had suicidal thoughts and said: ‘I just didn’t want to be alive any more.’

She said she begged for help, and asked to go somewhere to get help, and approached one of the most senior people in the institution, but was told it would not look good.

The duchess said: ‘I said that I needed to go somewhere to get help. I said that I’ve never felt this way before and I need to go somewhere. And I was told that I couldn’t, that it wouldn’t be good for the institution.’

– Baby Sussex is a girl

Harry and Meghan revealed they are expecting a baby girl. The duke joined his wife in the second half of the interview, and told the chat show host: ‘It’s a girl.’

He said his first thought was ‘amazing’ when he discovered they were having a girl, adding: ‘Just grateful. To have any child, any one or any two, would have been amazing.

‘But to have a boy and then a girl, I mean what more can you ask for? Now we’ve got our family, we got the four of us and our two dogs.’

Asked if they were ‘done’ with two children, Harry said ‘done’ and Meghan said: ‘Two is it.’

She also confirmed the baby is due in the ‘summertime’.

– Royal family accused of racism

Meghan said, when she was pregnant with Archie, an unnamed member of the royal family raised ‘concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be when he’s born’.

Asked whether there were concerns that her child would be ‘too brown’ and that would be a problem, Meghan said: ‘If that is the assumption you are making, that is a pretty safe one.’

Pushed by Winfrey on who had those conversations, Meghan refused to say, adding: ‘I think that would be very damaging to them.’

She added: ‘That was relayed to me from Harry, those were conversations the family had with him, and I think it was really hard to be able to see those as compartmentalised conversations.’

– Archie’s title

Meghan suggested she and Harry wanted Archie to be a prince so he would have security and be protected.

The duchess expressed her shock at ‘the idea of our son not being safe’, and the idea of the first member of colour in this family, not being titled in the same way as other grandchildren.

Archie, who is seventh in line to the throne, is not entitled to be an HRH or a prince due to rules set out more than 100 years ago by King George V.

He will be entitled to be an HRH or a prince when the Prince of Wales accedes to the throne.

As the first born son of a duke, Archie could have become Earl of Dumbarton – one of Harry’s subsidiary titles – or have been Lord Archie Mountbatten-Windsor, instead at the time of his birth, a royal source said Harry and Meghan had decided he should a regular Master Archie Mountbatten-Windsor.

– The Prince of Wales

The Duke of Sussex said his father the Prince of Wales stopped taking his calls while Harry and Meghan were in Canada ‘because I took matters into my own hands. I needed to do this for my family’. He said Charles wanted him to put his plans in writing.

– The Queen

Harry denied that he had ‘blindsided’ his grandmother Queen with the bombshell statement about stepping down as senior royal.

The duke said he believed the report probably could have come from ‘within the institution’.

– The Duchess of Cambridge

Meghan said Kate made her cry ahead of her wedding. Reports circulated ahead of the Sussexes’ nuptials that Meghan left Kate in tears at Princess Charlotte’s bridesmaid dress fitting.

But Meghan told Winfrey the ‘reverse happened’.

Meghan said she was not sharing the information to be ‘disparaging’, but added it was ‘really important for people to understand the truth’.

‘She’s a good person,’ the duchess added.

 

‘The word I was given was that those conversations were not productive. But they are glad that they have at least started a conversation.

‘And I think what is still upsetting to them is the palace keep saying they want to work it out privately, but yet, they believe these false stories are coming out that are very disparaging against Meghan, still. 

‘No one in the Royal Family has talked to Meghan yet, at this particular time. 

‘And I think it’s frustrating for them to see that it’s a racial conversation about the Royal Family when all they wanted all along was for the royals to intervene and tell the Press to stop with the unfair, inaccurate, false stories that definitely have a racial slant.

‘And until you can acknowledge that, I think it’s going to be hard to move forward. But they both want to move forward with this and they both want healing in this family. At the end of the day, that is Harry’s family.’   

The Duke of Cambridge was the first royal to personally respond to the racism allegations days after the interview aired when he spoke about mental health during a visit the School21 in east London. 

At the time, he revealed that he had not spoken to his brother since it came out, but added that he ‘will do’. 

It was also the first engagement for Kate since she was accused by Meghan of making her cry in the bombshell tell-all chat.  

Meghan said: ‘She (Kate) was upset about something, but she owned it, and she apologised. And she brought me flowers’. 

During the Oprah interview, Meghan also revealed details about their strained relationship, saying of pictures of them laughing at Wimbledon, ‘Nothing is what it looks like.’

She added that Kate being called ‘waity Katie’ in the press couldn’t compare to the alleged racism she faced. 

Meghan also made allegations that she felt suicidal and turned to the palace for help. 

The Duchess of Sussex told Oprah she ‘couldn’t be left alone’ and told her husband she ‘didn’t want to be alive anymore’ before claiming the Buckingham Palace HR department ignored her plea for help because she wasn’t a ‘paid employee’.   

Describing how she considered ending her life believing it ‘was better for everyone’, Meghan said: 

‘I knew that if I didn’t say it, that I would do it. I just didn’t want to be alive anymore. 

‘And that was a very clear and real and frightening constant thought. I remember how he just cradled me. I said that I needed to go somewhere to get help. 

‘I said that ‘I’ve never felt this way before, and I need to go somewhere’. And I was told that I couldn’t, that it wouldn’t be good for the institution’.

She said that after confiding in her husband, she was forced to go to the Royal Albert Hall for a charity event in January 2019, claiming photos from that night ‘haunt me’. 

She told Oprah she later reached out to one of the best friends of Diana, Princess of Wales, because she felt unsupported by the palace.

She said: ‘When I joined that family, that was the last time I saw my passport, my driving licence, my keys – all of that gets turned over’. 

Meghan said Harry had ‘saved my life’ by agreeing to move to Los Angeles.

During the broadcast, Prince Harry hinted at the extent of the alleged rift between the two brothers, claiming that their relationship was now ‘space,’ but added he hoped time would be a healer. 

He went on to claim he was ‘on different paths’ to William and spoke about his brother was ‘trapped’ in the Royal Family.   

Harry also said he felt ‘very let down’ by his father Prince Charles, accusing him of refusing to take his calls and and then ‘cut him off’ financially when they emigrated.

He said: ‘My father and brother. They’re both trapped’ and added that his mother Diana would be ‘angry and sad’ that he felt he had to leave the royal family, but ‘she saw it coming’. 

Harry said: ‘All she’d ever want for us is to be happy’, adding that his wife had ‘saved me’, declaring: 

‘I myself was trapped, as well. I didn’t see a way out’. 

The Queen broke her silence on the interview, voicing her ‘concern’ over the issues raised, ‘particularly that of race’, although the statement added that ‘some recollections may vary’.  

There has been much speculation about which member of the royal family they were accusing of racism. But during the interview the couple would not be drawn on who had deeply offended them.

Harry said: ‘That conversation, I am never going to share. At the time it was awkward, I was a bit shocked.’

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