For the first time, hundreds of radio stations across the UK have united to share an identical and simultaneous message about mental health.

Prince Harry and Prince William led a group of leading names from music, film, and sport in voicing the minute-long broadcast — which was aired at 10:59am on Tuesday. 

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Lady Gaga, Dame Judi Dench, David Harewood, and Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill also lent their voices to the message, which marks Mental Health Awareness Week. 

Take action: Join Demi Lovato and Ask World Leaders to Prioritise Mental Health in Emergency Settings

“No matter who you are or what station you listen to…” Dench began.

“All of us have moments when life is tough, and sometimes you just need someone to talk to,” Lady Gaga continued.

“Just starting a conversation on mental health can make all the difference — when you talk about something, you have less reason to fear it,” Prince William said.

Prince Harry added: “If you do have the courage to speak about it, you really can make things better.” 

The message finished with Dench saying, "How are you feeling today? It's OK to say."

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More than 300 stations joined together to share the broadcast, from national networks like BBC Radio 1, Radio 2, and 5 Live, to local stations — together reaching millions of listeners.

It's a vital message. In the UK, 1 in 4 adults (and 1 in 10 children|) experience mental health issues to some degree, according to the Mental Health Foundation. Meanwhile, the impacts of mental health issues affect many more people through networks of family, education, work, and community. 

While mental illness can affect anyone, anywhere, poverty increases the risk of mental health problems both in the UK and around the world. According to the World Health Organisation, common mental disorders are about twice as frequent among the poor as they are among the rich. While poverty and mental health have a complex relationship, according to experts, poverty is both a cause and a consequence of mental illness. 

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According to a report released by the Mental Health Foundation in August 2016, England’s chief medical officer identified a number of groups of people who are more at risk of developing mental health issues. 

Among children, these include those living “at a socio-economic disadvantage age, children with parents who have mental health or substance misuse problems, and looked-after children.” 

“Among adults, she identified higher risk among people who have been homeless, adults with a history of violence or abuse, Travellers, asylum seekers and refugees, and isolated older people,” the report reads. “Higher rates of mental health problems are associated with poverty and socio-economic disadvantage.” 

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The Royal Foundation’s Heads Together campaign supported the broadcast, which also brought together eight mental health charities: Anna Freud Centre for Children and Families, Best Beginnings, CALM, Contact, Place 2 Be, Mind, the Mix, and Young Minds. 

The Heads Together campaign launched in 2016, aiming to change the national conversation around mental illness and tackle the stigma that still surrounds it. 

Global Citizen campaigns to achieve the UN’s Global Goals, which include action to achieve good health and well-being. You can join us by taking action on this issue here, to stand with Demi Lovato and ask world leaders to prioritise mental health in emergency settings. 


Defeat Poverty

Prince Harry, Judi Dench, Lady Gaga, and More Just Joined Up to Talk About Mental Health

By Imogen Calderwood