Prince Harry met with people who have been supported by mental health charities, including Mind, at a barbeque at Kensington Palace to recognise the role people play in supporting others through mental health problems.
The barbeque united people supported by the seven mental health charities involved in Heads Together, a campaign spearheaded by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry, which aims to make people feel comfortable with their everyday mental wellbeing, feel able to support their friends and families through difficult times, and ensure that fear no longer prevents people getting help they need.
Mind volunteer Jessica Morgan spoke to Prince Harry about her own experiences of depression, and how running “saved her life”.
Jessica, 23 from Essex, has experienced mental health problems since her teenage years. However, after joining a local running crew and being part of a team, she now feels able to talk about her experiences, and credits running as “saving her life”. She has since completed the Great Wall of China marathon in aid of Mind.
Jessica was bullied from a young age for being adopted. In her early twenties, Jessica began to seek counselling with Southend Mind and started running. She joined a running group called London Brunch Club, who run every Sunday then go for brunch, and a running collective called Run Dem Crew. She quickly felt part of a community and the people she met through her running crews are now her closest and dearest friends. She now runs four times a week for the physical benefit and sense of community. She has now run four marathons in the space of a year to raise funds and awareness for Mind including the Great Wall of China Marathon Jessica also created a blog which she realised is helping other who may not have a support network around them.
At the Heads Together barbeque Jessica met and played French Cricket with Rio Ferdinand, Dame Kelly Holmes, Victoria Pendleton, Jonathan Trott and Iwan Thomas. The sports stars talked with Prince Harry and Jessica about tough times in their lives and struggles with their mental health or wellbeing and the importance of being supported by others. The sports stars discussed with Prince Harry how talking to friends, family and colleagues can be a vital first response during difficult times.
After speaking to Jessica and some of the nation’s top athletes about how they turned to friends and family for support after tough times in their own lives, Prince Harry, said: “if you can improve your own well-being and everyone else's around you as well, and get your mind as strong as your body, imagine what we could achieve.”
To see a film of the Heads Together barbeque, visit https://vimeo.com/175811127