William, Kate and Harry Launch New Phase of Heads Together Initiative for Mental Health

The royal trio are encouraging people to speak up about mental health issues.

ByABC News
January 17, 2017, 11:54 AM

— -- Prince William, Princess Kate and Prince Harry marked the New Year with their first joint engagement today to raise awareness of their high-profile mental health campaign.

The royal trio, who founded Heads Together to change the conversation on mental health, arrived at the Institute of Contemporary Art in central London for a briefing on their upcoming plans for the next phase of their mental health charity.

Kate, 35, wore a black, floral Erdem embroidered dress accessorized with a Mulberry clutch and burgundy Tods pumps. Kate debuted a new, longer hairdo with flowing curls falling loosely around her face.

William spoke first at the event, encouraging people to open up about their challenges in life.

"There are times when, whoever we are, it is hard to cope with challenges – and when that happens being open and honest and asking for help is life-changing," William, 34, told those in attendance. "Talking to someone else is a positive and confident step to take but for too long it has been a case of 'keep quiet and carry on.'”

"As a result, too many people have suffered in silence for too long, and the effects of this can be devastating," he said.

Kate then addressed the crowd.

"We have seen that two heads are better than one when dealing with a mental health problem," she said. "William, Harry and I have been very privileged to witness in the course of our work countless examples of simple conversations that have changed lives, which were the first step on a path to recovery.”

She continued, "So the question that William, Harry and I have asked ourselves is how we can get more people to start talking? How do we encourage people to take the first step.”

William, Kate and Harry see 2017 as a "tipping point" and hope they can get more people to speak about mental health without fear of judgment. They have chosen to tackle an often taboo subject that so often gets brushed under the rug.

"If we succeed with this, we will have taken a powerful step in normalizing mental health as an issue in our society, thinking about it as we do our own physical health," Kate said.

In his closing remarks, Harry, 32, echoed the importance of their mission to make it easier for the young and the old to reach out for help.

"In the past, the phrase 'mental health' would be translated to mental illness. But thankfully that is changing," Harry said.

Harry joined his brother and sister-in-law after spending a romantic holiday in Norway seeing the Northern Lights with American actress Meghan Markle. The "Suits" star and Harry have also reportedly been spending time together inside Kensington Palace since the New Year.

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