This week (May 18-24) marks Mental Health Awareness Week in the UK. And this year's theme is kindness and while it’s always so important to talk about mental health, sharing stories of kindness and explaining how people can reach out feels especially relevant during lockdown. The coronavirus pandemic has been incredibly tough on many of us, and a number of charities have enlisted famous faces to help raise awareness around mental health at this trying time. But how are the royals marking Mental Health Awareness Week?
Both the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are massive advocates for mental health awareness, having started Heads Together back in 2016. On May 18, the royal couple broadcast a #MentalHealthMinute message across all UK radio stations station, reminding listeners that they are not alone. Joined by Anthony Joshua, Dua Lipa, David Tennant, and Harry Kane, it’s been reported the message reached around 20 million listeners. “We’re all connected and sometimes talking about how you’re feeling can make a big difference,” said the Duke of Cambridge.
The BBC reported that a survey of 1,300 mental-health doctors from across the UK found that 43% had seen a rise in urgent cases while 45% reported a reduction in routine appointments during lockdown. In the radio broadcast, the Duchess of Cambridge said, “if you’re struggling it’s important to talk about it. Or if you know someone who is acting differently, it’s okay to ask how they are.”
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have been spreading the word throughout Mental Health Awareness Week and throughout the COVID-19 lockdown as their campaign,
Via Heads Together, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge also teamed up with Instagram to create the platform's first-ever guides. The new feature on the site allows accounts to pull together a collection of images and videos onto one page, and covers three topics: kindness, self care, and talking about how we feel.
“Our guides are packed full of stories, videos, tips, ideas, and advice to remind you that we’re all connected and that however you’re feeling, and whatever you’re going through, you are not alone,” the charity shared via Instagram.
At the start of Mental Health Awareness Week, on May 16, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge also celebrated the first anniversary of ShoutUK, their mental health help text line. ShoutUK was established to help people in need and give them someone to reach out to. To celebrate the milestone, the Duke and Duchess released a video with Shout volunteers and with Shout’s Chief Executive, Victoria Hornby. The Duke of Cambridge praised the volunteers who are working through lockdown and said, “you guys are the trailblazers, you have been doing a fantastic job keeping Shout moving forward, so well done and thank you for all your hard work; we really appreciate it.”