The Dukes and Duchesses of Sussex and Cambridge have come together to voice a televised advertisement for a new mental health campaign.
The short film, which highlights the Every Mind Matters campaign, will be broadcast simultaneously across several television channels on Monday evening as part of a “national takeover”.
Every Mind Matters is an initiative that has been launched by Public Health England (PHE) and the NHS to encourage people to become more aware of the early symptoms of mental health issues.
The three-minute film – which stars celebrities including former cricketer Freddie Flintoff, actor Glenn Close and presenter Davina McCall – will be shown at 8.45pm during ad breaks on Sky, Channel 4, ITV, Channel 5 and MTV after being introduced by presenter Clare Balding.
It is believed the showing of the advert to 10.3 million viewers across multiple television channels will be a “broadcaster first”.
Prince William is the first royal to narrate during the advert, explaining how poor mental health is something that is experienced universally.
“Everyone knows that feeling, when life gets on top of us,” the duke says.
“All over the country, millions of us face challenges to our mental health – at all ages – at all intensities, and for all sorts of reasons.”
Prince Harry adds that it can happen to anyone – “your brother, your mother, your colleague or your neighbour” – before stating that many people believe that “there’s nothing to be done”.
Meghan then chips in, saying that this assumption is “wrong”.
“There are things we can do. From today, there’s a new way to help turn things around,” the duchess says.
“Every Mind Matters will show you simple ways to look after your mental health.”
Catherine explains that the Every Mind Matters initiatives provides a free online plan to help those in need learn to cope with stress, boost their mood, sleep better and “feel more in control”.
This free online plan includes a health quiz, which when taken provides users with a personalised “mind plan” that can help them learn how to look after their mental health.
Additional content will be added to the platform in the near future, including advice on perinatal mental health and guidance for parents on how to support their children.
Users will also be recommended existing mental health apps that can benefit their wellbeing.
Paper materials will also be made available in public spaces such as libraries for those without internet access.
The campaign has been endorsed by the Royal College of GPs and has been praised by health secretary Matt Hancock.
“It draws together the importance of treating our mental health on an equal basis to our physical health, and treating it both as an asset that each individual needs to invest in, supported by the NHS and by the government, as opposed to just something that just needs to be fixed when it goes wrong,” Hancock said.
Claire Murdoch, national mental health director of NHS England, said the campaign “absolutely signals a sea of change in awareness and attitudes to mental health”.
“We do need digital social media, wider society, celebrities, industry, to step up to the plate and stop stoking the fires that can drive so much ill health in society, whether that’s idealised body image, cosmetic procedures, diet products, gaming and gambling – we are bombarded by it,” Murdoch said.
According to a new PHE survey of more than 3,000 adults in England, 83 per cent of adults experienced early symptoms of mental health issues in the past year.
These signs included feeling anxious, stressed, experiencing low mood and struggling to sleep.
More than a quarter of the respondents said they waited longer than six months before taking action.
Meanwhile, more than half of the participants said they resorted to coping mechanisms such as smoking, drinking, eating unhealthily and avoiding social situations.
If you are in need of mental health support, you can contact the free Samaritans helpline on 116 123, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.samaritans.org to find details of your nearest branch.
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