Royal approval: Princes William and Harry back YEP’s #SpeakYourMind campaign

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry (right) arriving at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in east London where they launched Heads Together - their new campaign to end mental health stigma. PA
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry (right) arriving at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in east London where they launched Heads Together - their new campaign to end mental health stigma. PA
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The Yorkshire Evening Post’s #SpeakYourMind campaign has been given the royal seal of approval.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry have commended our mental health campaign for “vitally highlighting” the need to break down stigma in Leeds by talking openly.

The royal support follows months of campaigning across the country by the trio through their Heads Together initiative which, like #SpeakYourMind, is also aiming to end stigma surrounding mental health.

A spokesperson from 
Kensington Palace said: “The Yorkshire Evening Post’s #SpeakYourMind campaign is playing a commendable role in Leeds by challenging and breaking down the stigma that surrounds the important topic of mental health. By encouraging readers to share their personal struggles, the paper is vitally highlighting just how powerful talking openly about mental health challenges can be.

“Their Royal Highnesses applaud the fantastic work that is taking place across the country encouraging people to have open conversations with one another about their mental wellbeing. It is vital that fear of judgement does not prevent people from getting the help they need.”

The backing from Prince Harry, Prince William and the Duchess comes seven months after the YEP first launched #SpeakYourMind under former editor, Nicola Furbisher.

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In March, our campaign was also officially supported by the Prime Minister Theresa May, who praised YEP readers for sharing their experiences with mental health.

Current YEP Editor Hannah Thaxter said the royal approval demonstrates that our message – to combat stigma by getting more people talking about mental health issues – is now being heard across the country.

She said: “We are absolutely delighted to have this recognition.

“The work their Royal Highnesses are doing with Heads Together, chimes perfectly with our campaign.

“It is something we, at the YEP, believe passionately about. If we can make a difference to how people feel about mental health problems, and if we can encourage more people to speak openly about the issue then the campaign will be doing its job.

“Mental illness takes many forms and can have far-reaching consequences for those suffering and for the families and friends trying to understand, support and help them.

“The experiences and the stories of others, who are prepared to talk about difficult subjects like depression, suicide, anxiety, eating disorders, phobias, self harm, obsessive compulsive disorders and the many other manifestations of mental illness, can be the trigger to helping someone else to start to talk.

“We hope YEP readers keep sharing their stories with us and help us spread the message through #SpeakYourMind and that this Royal Approval goes to show that the message is being heard all over the land.”

Since launching in October, #SpeakYourMind has revealed exclusive interviews with former Leeds United footballer Clarke Carlisle, ex Downing Street press secretary Alastair Campbell and Leeds City Council’s chief executive Tom Riordan. They are just some of a series of people who have bravely shared their experiences with mental health as part of our campaign, in the hope of encouraging others to speak out.

The YEP has also delivered investigations, news of huge grant offerings for worthy mental health projects and details of groundbreaking research into the issue.

Our campaign continues, and we want to keep raising awareness of mental health issues in Leeds and break down the damaging social stigma surrounding them.

To share your story email joseph.keith@jpress.co.uk.

You can also follow our campaign on Twitter and Facebook, by using the hasthag #SpeakYourMind.

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