Royals pledge £2m to boost UK's mental health

7 October 2017, 22:51

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry have reconfirmed their commitment to the issue of mental health with the announcement of a £2m investment.

The money has come from their charitable trust, the Royal Foundation, and will be used to set up a digital innovation unit to develop new tools and services that will help people have conversations about their mental health and access support.

It is the largest single grant ever given by the foundation since it began operating in 2011.

The digital innovation unit is the next phase in their high profile Heads Together campaign, which saw the Royals team up with the London Marathon to create the world's first mental health marathon.

It also attracted high-profile support from the likes of Lady Gaga, Professor Green, Ruby Wax, Alastair Campbell and Theresa May.

On a visit to Imperial College London's Data Observatory on Friday, William learned about the campaign's progress in its drive to "change the conversation on mental health".

He was shown a collection of data visualisations from the biggest ever series of surveys on mental health involving 14,000 members of the British public.

The surveys suggested that a total 1.5 million more people (3%) were talking about mental health in May compared to February 2017, when the surveys were launched, with a 12% increase in the number of those admitting to talking about their own mental health.

After hearing about the work of the campaign, William said: "Wow. Lots of figures. Amazing," and added that it had been "fantastic" to see data about the campaign's impact around the UK.

The Mix, one of their eight charity partners, offers advice to teenagers and young people who already use their phones, social media and online search engines to find support.

Chris Martin, CEO of The Mix, said: "The potential of these technologies is developing all the time and - increasingly - young people turn to these channels first when they are struggling.

"Now is the perfect moment for The Royal Foundation to help kick-start the creation of impactful new tools that will help young people have conversations about their mental health and find the support they need, when they need it."

On Tuesday William, Kate and Harry will mark world mental health day, which this year focuses on workplace wellbeing.

In the coming weeks and months they are expected to make more announcements about how they are going to focus on what resources are needed in the workplace, in schools and within the military, to make mental wellbeing a priority and make sure everyone can get access to the help they need.

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