By Lynsey Eidell. Photos: Getty Images.
Kate Middleton, Prince William, and Prince Harry have been working since last May to help remove the stigma surrounding mental health and open the dialogue on the topic through their foundation, Heads Together. Their latest endeavor: a series of short films, entitled #OKtoSay, that highlight how critical conversations surrounding mental health can be.
The 10 short films, uploaded to both the Heads Together website and YouTube page, feature individuals from all walks of life — from a professional soccer player and a former police officer to a mother of two — alongside the person that they first opened up to about their mental struggles. The videos highlight how life-changing, and in some cases, life-saving those conversations were, and how important they were in the coping and healing process. The goal of the films is to inspire those who may be struggling to open up, as well as prompt others who may notice that someone is having a tough time to simply ask, "How are you?".
Each of the videos is equally powerful and moving. One features former professional English soccer player Rio Ferdinand, who lost his wife to breast cancer in May 2015 and became a single parent to three children. He speaks to his agent and close friend Jamie Moralee about how helpful it was to be able to open up about his grief to him. "It's difficult, but in these situations you need to ... be able to get your feelings out," Ferdinand says in the video. "It doesn't just help you, but it helps all the people close to you ... after that, it becomes easier. Much easier."
Another film features model Adwoa Aboah speaking to her mother about how difficult it was to have those initial conversations — and how pretending she was OK almost led to her suicide. "I think we were all in denial," her mother, Camilla Loather, says in the film. "I just thought you had a problem with drugs. I didn't really think it was anything else until you tried to kill yourself." Aboah responds, "I definitely did not know how to share with someone the fact that I felt really, really depressed."
The hope is for these two films, along with the eight others, to change that very reality for the millions of people suffering with mental health issues. "We all know that you cannot resolve a mental health issue by staying silent," the royals said in a statement on the Heads Together website. "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."
You can view all of the #OKtoSay films here.
This story originally appeared on Glamour.
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