Prince William, Kate and Prince Harry have enlisted help from a range of celebrities to launch a series of "groundbreaking" films about mental health. The royal trio commissioned the short videos with the hope of lifting the stigma on mental health. Rapper Professor Green – real name Stephen Manderson – former cricketer Andrew 'Freddie' Flintoff, comedienne Ruby Wax and former Downing Street spin doctor Alastair Campbell are among those who have starred in the videos. Former ITV news anchor Mark Austin is also seen discussing anorexia with his daughter Maddy.
The clips show celebrities and non-celebrities talking about their personal struggles, ranging from anxiety, alcoholism and depression to loneliness, trauma and bereavement. One video shows Professor Green and Freddie Flintoff discussing depression. "The hardest thing for me initially was talking," said the sportsman. "I'm not a big talker. I'm from the North of England, I'm from a working class family, we don't talk about our feelings." Rapper Professor Green agreed, saying: "It's no different from me growing up in a council estate in East London – it's just not something that was spoken about."
Freddie Flintoff and Professor Green star in the Heads Together videos
The first ten films, which were released on Wednesday, have been produced by award-winning directors including Stephen Frears and John Madden. A royal source said: "The films are really beautiful and incredibly impactful and Their Royal Highnesses are absolutely delighted with them." The videos are also being backed by web giants Facebook, Twitter and Google in the hope they will be shared as widely as possible so that viewers are inspired to have their own conversations about mental health.
In a statement, William, Kate and Harry said: "Since we launched Heads Together last May, we have seen time and time again that shattering stigma on mental health starts with simple conversations. When you realise that mental health problems affect your friends, neighbours, children and spouses, the walls of judgement and prejudice around these issues begin to fall. And we all know that you cannot resolve a mental health issue by staying silent."
The royals added: "Attitudes to mental health are at a tipping point. We hope these films show people how simple conversations can change the direction of an entire life. Please share them with your friends and families and join us in a national conversation on mental health in the weeks ahead."