When it comes to mental health, Prince Harry is quick to break down the “stigmas” associated with it – speaking openly about coping with his mother’s death earlier this year, the prince hoped to start a national conversation about mental health.
He, together with The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have reconfirmed their commitment to the issue of mental health with the announcement of a £2m investment to establish a new start-up to support innovative mental health digital tools.
The money has come from their charitable trust, the Royal Foundation and is the largest single grant ever given by the foundation since it began operating in 2011.
The investment will be used to establish a new start-up for digital mental health innovations.
The aim is to help people find trusted information about their mental health and get help in times of need.
William and Harry continue to talk openly about their struggles with their mother’s death, while Kate has also spoken openly about her struggles with motherhood during a mental health talk.
The trio are all big advocates in wanting people to know it is #oktosay – through their mental health initiative Heads Together, Lady Gaga also jumped on board, Face timing The Duke and discussing how opening up and having conversations about mental health is vital to ending the stigma that still surrounds these issues.
Lady Gaga said she felt people with mental health challenges were ‘not hiding anymore’ and the Duke added that it is time ‘to feel normal about mental health – it’s the same as physical health’ and that good conversations can ‘really make such a difference.’
The new £2m digital mental health start-up will be led by Victoria Hornby and have a Board made up of leading technology experts.
The as yet un-named start-up will prioritise tools that could be of particular benefit to young people who are more likely to be seeking advice and help online and on their phones.
“This new digital startup will bring together experts in mental health and technology to find and create new solutions”, Hornby said.
“We want to use the power of technology to reach the millions of people, especially young people, who feel isolated and alone, and help them to find the right place to talk.”
It is expected to be operational by January, 2018 with announcements about its first investments in digital tools made later in 2018.
The drive towards investing in mental health has seen NHS England promise £5 million each of central funding for the seven mental health global digital exemplar (GDE) sites. The GDEs are yet to receive the funding – part of the £4.2 billion ‘Paperless 2020′ pot.
About the centre for digital mental health innovations: (Source: Royal Foundation)
- Rapidly evolving technology offers the potential for us to reach large number of people with tools to start conversations and get help, when and where they need this support
- There is a need for new trusted and tested digital tools for mental health as currently, a search online can produce confusing, conflicting and potentially damaging information and advice
- Heads Together research shows that young people are more likely than any other age group to be having conversations about mental health using technology, including by phone, email or social media
- Around the world, the use of technology to reach those in need of help and support is showing promising outcomes and we want to make sure these advances are available to people in the UK