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William and Kate launch latest phase of campaign to support UK’s mental health

The Princess of Wales gave a speech to young people in Birmingham to mark World Mental Health Day.

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The Prince and Princess of Wales have launched the next phase of their campaign to support the nation’s mental health with a call for “concrete action” to help the next generation.

Kate gave a major speech to young people gathered in Birmingham for a day of workshops and discussions around the issue to mark World Mental Health Day, and told them their ultimate goal was to “shape fairer, safer, kinder, more equal societies”.

With her husband listening in the audience, the princess highlighted the potential pressures of a fast-changing world where “social media and concerns about the threat of conflicts, pandemics, climate change or the cost of living” can affect our emotional wellbeing.

Kate and William
The Prince and Princess of Wales were in Birmingham to mark World Mental Health Day (Kirsty Wigglesworth/PA)

She went on to say: “William and I believe we need to do all we can as a society to help young people develop the emotional and social life skills they need for good mental health, and to thrive in the world around them.

“Both learning about the world and learning about how to be happy and thrive within it, should go hand-in-hand.”

In 2016 the couple, along with the Duke of Sussex, launched their landmark Heads Together campaign to raise the profile of the nation’s mental health, with William telling the young people “tackle the stigma and the taboo”.

William and Kate meet young people
William said ‘concrete action’ would mark the next phase of the campaign (Kirsty Wigglesworth/PA)

A series of projects followed, from the royals talking about their own mental health, joining famous faces in video messages to mark mental health events to encouraging the public to speak out about their problems or support a friend in crisis.

Harry along with wife Meghan is due to attend a World Mental Health Day festival in New York later where they will join parents for a discussion about a number of issues including creating a safer online world for young people.

William joined a public discussion after Kate’s speech and told the young audience: “Really where we are is we feel that we’ve made some progress, in that we’re all in this room talking about mental health and were chipping away at that stigma, but there’s a lot more to do.

“And I think concrete action and some sort of tangibility to come forward is the idea where we’d like to see this space go next.”

The Prince of Wales during his visit
The day was organised by The Royal Foundation (Kirsty Wigglesworth/PA)

Among the guests were former Love Island contestant Dr Alex George, now a TV doctor campaigning on mental health issues, Radio 1Xtra Breakfast host Nadia Jae, and former Strictly Come Dancing entrant Nikita Kanda, BBC Asian Network radio host.

During the panel discussion, Dr Alex – who hosted the chat – asked William where in his mental health toolbox he reached to cope with stress.

He joked: “You don’t want to open that part of the toolbox.”

Then said: “For me, just general maintenance, so general mental health well-being like walking in fresh air, getting away from screens is a big deal, having a laugh, humour for me is a big deal, I love to laugh, you’ve got to look at lighter things in life so to feel good.

“Time with friends, time with family, things like that really matter to me.”

The Prince of Wales speaks during a panel discussion
William took part in a panel discussion during his visit (Kirsty Wigglesworth/PA)

For the visit, Kate wore star-shaped earrings given to her in May by Sarah Renton in Maidenhead as a tribute to her daughter Issy Phipps who took her own life.

The day was organised by The Royal Foundation at the Factory Works in Birmingham and had the theme Exploring Our Emotional Worlds, and saw the princess take part in an Understanding Our Emotions workshop.

Kate sat with a group and looked away as she spun an “emotions” wheel that listed a range of emotions, then tried to guess were it had stopped from the comments of the young people.

Sharivari Patil, 21, said afterwards: “First of all she guessed the emotion was ‘grateful’ which was wrong, then ‘valued’ which was also not right, and finally got ‘appreciated’ which was correct.”

Meanwhile, William sat with young people taking part in a Community Action And Well-Being workshop, speaking about how taking part in community projects helped mental health.