In case there was any doubt that mental health issues still carry a huge stigma, Prince William revealed as much this week. The Prince shared the news that when launching his charity Heads Together with his wife Kate and brother Prince Harry in 2016, no celebrity would agree to partner with the trio. We’re going to repeat that, because ugh. No one said yes to the FUTURE KING OF ENGLAND when asked to support a charity focusing on mental health. If that’s not a sign that Heads Together was needed then we don’t know what is.
Prince William spoke at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on Wednesday and opened up about his charity, which struggled to find celebrity endorsements in the first few months.
“What was interesting when we set up the campaign, not one celebrity wanted to join us,” said William. “Not one person wanted to be involved in the mental health campaign Heads Together. That was three years ago, and that was a big deal,” he said. “Obviously, once we started getting the ball rolling and once we started showing people a lot more of what we’re going to do, people realized that Catherine, Harry and I put our necks on the line here. That actually maybe it was okay, we could join. Then some very brave people came forward from celebrities and from normal people who decided this was really important and they bravely took on the task of speaking about mental health.”
Prince William didn’t answer directly when asked whether any celebs who initially turned down the Duke were now involved in the charity (he’s classy) but did say, “It’s now become a lot easier to talk about, which is fantastic news. And that was the whole point of the campaign – to allow people to feel the freedom and the space to talk about it and not feel there was a stigma.”
Even with all the stigma surrounding mental health, it still is a bit surprising that no celebrities said yes to Prince William. It could be a culture issue, with discussions around mental health possibly more advanced in North America than the UK.
Whatever the past may have held, Lady Gaga is currently one of the biggest names to partner with the royals and their charity, with the singer and actor often speaking publicly about her own issues with mental health. Dame Judi Dench, Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill and actor David Harewood have also lent their support to Heads Together, with all four celebs taking part in last year’s first #MentalHealthMinute in May.
During the Forum, Prince William also touched on the inspiration for starting Heads Together, which included his own issues with mental health following his time working as an air ambulance pilot in the military. “I think if I hadn’t been doing what I was doing, I might have gone into my shell a bit and gone, ‘I can deal with this myself.’ Then potentially, down the line, it manifests itself in a much worse situation,” said William. “I know that if I hadn’t taken the action that I did then, I would have definitely gone down a slippery slope and I would have been dealing with mental illness on a different level.”
“I still find it very difficult to talk about it.” — The Duke of Cambridge on the importance of talking #MentalHealth, and his own experience working as an Air Ambulance Pilot #WEF19 pic.twitter.com/2nimIAqwiQ
— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) January 23, 2019
It’s time we started talking openly about our mental health. Join the conversation on Bell Let’s Talk Day, January 30, and help end the stigma around mental illness. For every text message (not iMessage) sent and mobile or long-distance call made by Bell Canada, Bell Aliant and Bell MTS customers, Bell will donate five cents to Canadian mental health initiatives. The same goes for anyone sending a tweet using #BellLetsTalk, watching the Bell Let’s Talk Day video on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or Snapchat, or using the Bell Let’s Talk Facebook frame or Snapchat filter. But talking about it is just the first step: Visit letstalk.bell.ca for more ways you can effect change and build awareness around mental health.