Thursday, 30 March 2017

William, Kate and Harry Launch Heads Together Film Series & Latest Updates!

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry have released ten short films as part of the next stage of their Heads Together campaign. The films show a range of people, including well-known faces, discussing the first time they opened up about mental health and the impact it had on their lives. The royals commissioned the series, with leading directors including Stephen Frears (The Queen) and John Madden (Shakespeare in Love) participating in the project.


A joint statement released by the royals read:

‘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. 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.’

The release of the films coincided with news Prince Harry attended a two-day course to help people suffering from mental health issues while working with injured servicemen and women at the London District Personnel Recovery Unit. A source told the Mail Online: "Through his work with the personal recovery unit he attended a two-day course about how to help people with mental health issues in the veterans’ context. It’s about mental health first aid: what do you do when someone comes to you, what words should you use, which direction can you point them in? It also went through the range of issues veterans face." The Telegraph reports Prince William has also taken courses on mental health issues as part of his training with the East Anglian Air Ambulance.


The Telegraph reports:

'The videos, published online, are the next step in a building campaign which will next month culminate in the London Marathon, where around 700 runners including the Telegraph's Bryony Gordon will embark on 26.2 miles in aid of the charity.
A further 39,000 branded headbands will be available to any other runner who wishes to show their support for Heads Together, in recognition of how mental health affects copious other good causes. The Duke, Duchess and Prince Harry are understood to have actively explored taking part in the marathon themselves, but will not be running on April 23. The Duchess has previously said: "I think there might be a few security issues."'

Alongside the film series, Heads Together today published the most comprehensive survey of how people in Britain talk about their mental health. It was carried out by YouGov.

'It shows that almost half of us (46%) have talked recently about mental health, with a quarter of us talking about our own mental health. Eight out of ten people who have talked about their own mental health found these conversations helpful. The findings show Britain is ‘opening up’ about its mental health but equally highlight some of the challenges that still remain. Men are less likely to talk than women and people aged 18-24 are almost twice as likely to discuss mental health than those over 65. Also, fewer than one in five people who have had a conversation have talked to their GP and fewer than one in ten spoke either to a supervisor at work or a counsellor.'

After viewing the videos, I was particularly struck by the honesty and courage of the participants who were filmed with loved ones and those they first shared their struggles with. It takes considerable bravery to openly admit to having a problem and is the first step on the road to recovery. Publicly discussing taking that step is not an easy thing to do, and I applaud all those involved. A range of issues - from bereavement, addiction to anxiety and depression - are discussed. The videos show it's #oktosay


Alastair Campbell is best known for his role as former British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s spokesman, press secretary and director of communications and strategy. Alastair has campaigned relentlessly to end stigma around mental health. In this film, Alastair talks to his partner Fiona about his psychotic nervous breakdown in 1986, his addiction issues and the chronic depression he has experienced over the years. He says: "The thing I always do now, I always say to you when I feel the depression coming on, even if it’s only mild, and it used to be I would just go into lockdown, now the first thing I say is: 'I think I’m getting depressed again.'"


American actress, mental health campaigner, speaker and author Ruby Wax OBE speaks with her husband, Ed, about the first time she revealed her mental illness to him, when they were just about to get married.  Ruby is an ambassador for Mind and SANE.


Stephen Manderson – better known by his stage name Professor Green – is an English rapper, singer, songwriter and documentary maker. He is also a patron of Calm, which is the charity dedicated to preventing male suicide in the UK. The musician, whose father committed suicide, has spoken openly about his own battle with the condition and campaigned extensively to break down the stigma around male mental health. "I was 24 when my dad took his own life and it wasn’t until years later…and I had a conversation with my Nan and we spoke about it properly. I broke down. I was petrified."


Maddy Austin is studying biochemistry at university and will be running the 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon for Place2Be, one of the charity partners of Heads Together. In the video she talks to her father, broadcaster Mark Austin, about her teenage battle with anorexia. Last month Mark wrote a moving piece for The Sunday Times: "One moment she was a vibrant, strong, energetic and beautiful young girl; the next, she had begun a rapid, dangerous descent towards what seemed, at times, certain death. That’s what anorexia does. I didn’t understand it at first. Cancer I understand: diseased cells multiplying, spreading." Since then he has given several radio interviews describing how harrowing it was to see his daughter battle anorexia. It's been quite a journey for Maddy and her family, however, she's clearly doing so well. I'm sure it will be very emotional for her family to see her run the London Marathon.


Dan is an emergency medical technician and he has been on the road since 2010. A couple of years ago he had a traumatic experience on the job and started having flashbacks and nightmares, later diagnosed as PTSD. He reached out and confided in his colleague, Rich, and attributes that conversation to helping him overcome it.


You may recall William, Kate and Harry introduced Dan and Rich at a World Mental Health Day event last October. As he addressed the audience Dan said: "What I’m going through is normal, and many people experience things like this from time to time."


Phil talks to his wife Julie about his mental health and the difference that speaking openly has made after he contracted Q Fever whilst serving as a Royal Marine in Iraq. It's desperately sad hearing him say he felt like a burden on his family and researching how much of his medication he would need to take for an overdose.  Phil is now a Paralympics competitor.


To watch all ten videos please visit the Heads Together website or their YouTube channel. I thought the videos were excellently made and the topics, emotions and feelings discussed will resonate with many. The participants are from all different walks of life and it was very insightful to hear their individual paths to getting help. If you would like to help, Heads Together are asking as many people as possible to join the conversation by watching and sharing the videos and using the hashtags #oktosay and #HeadsTogether to share your input.

Two heads are better than one when it comes to our mental health. So when someone you know is going through a difficult time, it’s OK to ask how they are – and if you feel like you need to speak to someone, it’s OK to say so.
                                                                                                                    - Heads Together 
                                                                                         

In terms of what's next for Heads Together, we should soon hear news on the documentary William, Kate and Harry filmed with Nick Knowles; it will be aired at some point in April. The London Marathon takes place on 23 April, and all three royals will be there cheering on runners. Around 700 people will run for Heads Together on the day.

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Yesterday, it was confirmed William, Kate and Harry will attend a Service of Hope at Westminster Abbey on Wednesday, 5 April, in the wake of the terror attack in Westminster. Families of those killed in the attack, together with other victims, witnesses and first responders from the police, fire, paramedics, RNLI and NHS hospital services will also be in the congregation. The Home Secretary, the Rt Hon Amber Rudd MP, will be present alongside the Acting Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Craig Mackey. The service is at noon and will be broadcast live on the BBC.


Yesterday, Prince William laid a wreath in honour of PC Keith Palmer, who was killed during the Westminster attack, at the Police Memorial Garden at the National Memorial Arboretum. William's hand-written note read: "For PC Keith Palmer and all those who have served our community so valiantly; your legacy is our way of life. William."


Today, Prince William made an unannounced visit to St Thomas' Hospital to thank medical staff who helped save lives during the attack. A Kensington Palace spokeswoman said: "The Duke wanted to visit privately with some of those who were first to respond to the attacks." Among those who greeted William was London Ambulance Service chairman Heather Lawrence. "Our frontline crews and control room staff did an exceptional job in incredibly difficult circumstances," she said. "They stayed calm and provided excellent care to those affected and we are very grateful that Prince William has recognised everyone's efforts."


Medical responder Richard Webb-Stephen recalled the events:

'The public were amazingly helpful and comforted the injured while help was on the way and doctors and nurses ran out to help from the local hospital. I was very focused on treating patients and it wasn't until much later that I found out it was a terrorist attack. We train our whole lives for incidents like this and you hope it will never happen, but I consider it a privilege to do this job and play a small part in helping patients.'

Images of staff from St Thomas' running from the hospital to the scene of the attack to try to help as many as possible showed their incredible bravery and their immediate willingness to go above and beyond. I'm glad to see a member of the Royal family commending those who played such a vital role during such a frightening day.

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Finally, we have several fashion updates on items worn by the Duchess. Kate's claret PHILOSOPHY DI LORENZO SERAFINI Double-breasted twill blazer is back in stock at Barneys and Net-A-Porter.


Kate's See by Chloé Lace Jersey Long Sleeve Dress is discounted from $460 to $345 at Saks Fifth Avenue. With thanks to the lovely Susan from What Kate Wore for the tip!


Middleton Maven shared news the Lela Rose dress Kate wore in Cornwall last September has been released in a new colour. The Half-Sleeve Wool Crepe Dress featuring a jewel neckline and A-line silhouette is available in salmon pink at Bergdorf Goodman.


And Kate's gorgeous new Gianvito Rossi Ankle Strap Suede d'Orsay Pumps remain available at Lane Crawford. Kate debuted the pumps in Paris, and they are described: "These Gianvito Rossi pumps demonstrate traditional Italian craftsmanship and designs in a d’Orsay silhouette. Softly structured from black suede, pointed-toe pair is finished with a buckle ankle strap for a slender sculpt."


Wishing you all a great weekend! We'll see Kate on Tuesday for the Opening Night of the musical 42nd Street at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane in aid of East Anglia's Children's Hospice.

156 comments:

  1. Wonderful videos. It's so good that people are willing to share their stories to help others. This is one thing for which I applaud them.

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    1. Are they in any of the videos talking about their experiences?

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    2. Rebecca - Sweden31 March 2017 at 10:47

      I agree. These videos are very powerful. And in a way, comforting! I have thought Heads Together has been a bit... aimless, but with a good base and potential. I hope it continues this way because it really have potential to do some real difference :D

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    3. Rebecca - Sweden31 March 2017 at 12:32

      No Moxie, they are not. Maybe worth a look anyways?

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    4. No, they aren't, and you would certainly think William and Harry could make a powerful one talking about how they came to terms with the death of their mother. However, I also see why they won't; it's been played over and over so much, that they probably don't want to add fuel to the fire. This is one where I actually have their backs, and you know that doesn't happen often!

      But this is also one time where having their names attached really does bring more publicity than it would normally get, and for that I will not be rotten! Yet. Or until I get bored being nice, which might not take long. :)

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    5. I always think the drive for this must be Diana, and an excerpt from Sally Bedell Smith's new book struck me last week.

      She writes "One of the saddest aspects of Diana's short and tragic life was the failure of those around her - friends and family alike - to convince her to get a proper diagnosis and treat her extreme symptoms of mental instability... bulimia, self mutilation, depression, acute anxiety and paranoia." She added that because Diana was "high functioning" she could put on a great outward appearance and people couldn't imagine what was going on in private.

      It struck me right away because I could almost hear William or Harry saying that, and adding "We don't want anyone to go through what our mother went through, she might still be here if she was able to find help and felt she could talk about her struggles with mental health."

      In a way, if they were raising awareness for cancer, and had a mother who died of cancer, they would absolutely be talking about that. Perhaps they're afraid that talking about Diana would cast blame on their father and grandmother for not adequately helping her, so that could be it as well.

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    6. No, Moxie, that would never happen. Although all 3 would have enough to talk about. But I dont expect them to do that anymore.

      I hope, people who are in need will watch these real people with real problems and take action to make themselves feel better. This is how it starts.

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    7. Where, may I ask, did Sally Bedell Smith get her degree? 20 years after Diana's death, there is still an ongoing campaign to make Charles the victim in his marriage. Right.

      And if we are to talk about paranoia, then I suppose Camilla's place in the Firm is just a figment of our collective imagination.

      I'm not dismissing the impact of Diana's childhood on her life, but my goodness....I'd like to see someone else take on what she did and do better.

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    8. Not at all royalfan. Smith is actually a very well researched historian who does not take sides, she writes the history and goes where the information takes her. She is also quite critical of Charles, the Queen, and the arcane workings of the royal family at the time.

      There is a wealth of information about this time and Diana's illness, much from Diana herself. And I think (said very respectfully and gently I hope you know by now) that you're missing the understanding of mental health. There doesn't have to be a cause, that's the biggest stigma "what does she have to be depressed about?" type thing.

      You can have a terrible childhood (or marriage) like Diana and never suffer. You can have a charmed idyllic childhood and have issues. Just as you can break a leg whether you're a charwoman or the Queen of England.

      Diana had an illness that was never properly addressed or treated. That is an issue in and of itself. It doesn't make Charles a victim, sinner or saint, frankly it has nothing to do with him. Many people are in bad marriages but don't have eating disorders or think their father-in-law is trying to poison you or kill you in a plane. (as Diana told friends) It's beyond tragic that Diana so clearly needed help and never got it. To put it in physical terms, it's as if she had a mortal wound and was left in a corner to bleed.

      That last summer Diana was, by all accounts - mostly her own, in a tailspin. If she had received proper help and treatment at some point in her life she might have been better able to deal with "the grief in my past that is resurfacing" (her words) and I doubt she would have given the Fayeds the time of day.

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    9. Royalfan, in this case I think that, in some way, you end up sharing the stigma, and - for what I know of you - I don't think it's what you want. Acknowledging that Diana had some mental issue does not diminish her nor justify her husband. If we don't accept the possibility that some people we appreciate so much can have a mental issue, how the conversation on the stigma could change?

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    10. I think someone with a stable childhood and older than she was when she first got married, might have done better in terms of getting yourself out of that situation and continuing on with life in a healthy way but it certainly can't be expected.
      I do think that Diana had mental health issues but to me, that doesn't mean that Charles was not to blame, I rather see it as circumstances perhaps leading to depression. I believe there are circumstances under which almost everyone would get depressed because some things are just too much to deal with.
      With Diana, it always strikes me that she was so young when she married and didn't really know what she was getting into. I think that with the greatest sympathy because if I had gotten into a situation like that at 19, I know I would have been a mess!

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    11. Rebecca - Sweden31 March 2017 at 19:48

      Very good points and well explained Claudia and Paola. Accknowledging her illnessess and issues, and even her personal shortcomings (which an illness is NOT!), does not deminish her or anything she did, nor does it diminish Charles part in the relationship. In a way, it actually enhances her. It shows a more clearer picture of her. One of immense hurt and confustion and actually manipulation, but also one of turning all that to immense good and kindness. To me, ignoring her faults and her illnessess is not fair to her nor to others battling their own issues.

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    12. Claudia

      Beautifully written:) Thank you!

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    13. Courtney from NC31 March 2017 at 20:25

      Moxie - No, they didn't share their stories. If they had this whole story would have become about them and Diana. None of the other stories would have gotten any traction. This really isn't about them. As Rebecca said they are the vehicle delivering the stories, the information. In this instance their "star power" is exactly what is needed to call attention to the issue.

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    14. Don't you keel over from shock, Courtney, but I'm about to agree with you too.

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    15. So we have clarified that their contribution is a press release. They also provided some funding (which is what I understand the meaning of "commission" to be.) The story arc development, personal stories, filming, editing, and mental health expertise were the work of others.

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    16. Courtney - Are any of the stories getting traction?

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    17. Not so fast, bluhare... if they aren't in the videos -- is it getting the traction that you think it is? People watched Diana walk through a landmine because she was Diana... and that is how she affected change.

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    18. Ladies, for the record, in my mind there is no stigma associated with mental health issues and I commend people who acknowledge that they need help and reach out for it. I do understand that Diana had struggles and even stated that I was not dismissing the impact of her childhood.

      And, Claudia, I think you're exactly right - one *can* have a terrible childhood and never suffer, and I suppose that is part of my theory here...

      What if Diana had married a man who was as besotted with her as she was with him? What if Charles had been loving, supportive, faithful, and had taken pride in his wife's popularity rather than resenting it? Take the same woman, place her in very different circumstances, and I strongly believe you'd have a very different outcome.

      There are two issues here (and I realize I responded to Claudia's reference to the latest analysis of Diana's mental health). First, there is the issue of Diana herself and her struggles. MY problem is with Diana being labeled as being unstable (something that started during her marriage and has been sanctioned by Charles ever since) for the sake of making HER out to be the problem and, by default, excusing Charles for his bad behavior because it was her fault. I firmly believe that the way she was treated in her marriage and by the Firm in general had much to do with the emotions she experienced and her subsequent actions.

      Again, there is no stigma associated with mental health, but I do have a problem with it being diagnosed by "experts" who did not know her but are quite willing to sell books at her expense. And, if there is something wrong with objecting to a woman being dismissed and undermined for the sake of re-writing a sad chapter of royal history, then perhaps it is I who needs help. :-)

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    19. Courtney from NC1 April 2017 at 02:16

      Bluhare - It was bound to happen sooner or later. Lol. I think this topic is one that transcends usual squabbles or differences of opinions. I agreed with Claudia earlier, too.

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    20. Courtney from NC1 April 2017 at 02:21

      Royalfan - I think that Diana's ability to "clean up nice" and smile made people think things were okay with her. I obviously didn't know her and believe that Charles terribly used her, but I also believe she had mental health issues besides the bulimia. I have heard so many times that I don't "look sick" in reference to both my MS and anxiety/depression. You can pass inspection looks wise and still suffer terribly. Believing that Diana had issues with her mental health doesn't absolve Charles for his part in their marriage breakdown at all. It just adds another layer to her life and really her death.

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    21. You are fine, royal fan. lol

      If you think about it, Diana definitely had issues.
      We all have issues. Diana had some intense ones and in the midst of intense circumstances that we probably can't even fully imagine, like the Palace (powerful), the Royal Family, the stalwart social traditions and social mores of her peer group, the media, the responsibilities of motherhood, the responsibilities of her position and all the while with the media circus at every turn. If she hadn't had an inner strength she would have fallen by the wayside, if she would even have survived at all as long as she did. (To those who think the RF might have done her in, her comment that Charles was not fit to be king, might be the firmest foundation for that theory, btw.) That she used the powers in her environment to create the changes she did is absolutely amazing, although some portions of that are still controversial the changes speak for themselves. It at the very least, made the Royal family take a look at themselves and their traditions in a new way. And it showed the powers that be the importance one person can make in spite of all their finigaling. And it obviously strongly impacted the whole world in a way that still defies full explanation. And she was just one person. A vulnerable, solitary, hurting woman who wouldn't give up. Amazing. She was by no means perfect. But still amazing. Just my opinion.

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    22. As much as I tried, Courtney . . . . :)

      But I agree with you about the topic. People who are willing to share, like you, can make a huge difference to people reading who don't even comment. So my hat is off to you for that. Please note I haven't had to eat it yet. :)

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    23. But the concept, initiative and follow-through and support are theirs, Moxie. You know, even in the cold annals and halls of the law, there is profound tried and true litmus for those setting on the bench. The facts, in finality, tempered with the consideration that "The heart of the law is mercy."
      Compassion is the milk of human kindness. :)
      No offense, just encouragement.

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    24. I feel very strongly about this because I've dealt with eating disorders and needed (and still do) a lot of help to understand and get better which I'm really grateful for
      And I've read almost all the Diana books, including Morton, basically her own story straight from her. She admitted her problems, trying to commit suicide, cutting herself, and the paranoia and everything.
      If she was sick, as she said she was, marrying the best man in the world wouldn't have mattered. The only thing she needed was MEDICAL CARE!
      Like if you have breast cancer a great husband may help in some areas but it wont CURE you!
      That's the point! Mental illness is just like physical illness a person suffering needs proper MEDICAL treatment.
      A different husband may have been more supportive but he wouldn't have cured her. Only professional care can do that. And that's more stigma thinking you can change someone's circumstance and "change " them. Just keep taking them to restaurants something will appeal to them! They need a doctor! The right help!!!! I can't believe people still don't get that.

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    25. Rebecca - Sweden1 April 2017 at 20:45

      Exactly Anonymous 20.25!!

      (And I'm sorry you have to deal with it yourself! <3 )

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    26. Florida Moxie, I imagine that one day we will see you at the Academy Awards claiming that they cannot give a prize to Steven Spielberg or Tim Burton because they are not the authors of the movies: there is somebody else who wrote the story, somebody else who worked at the photography, somebody else who acted ...

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    27. Quit making me think about going back to the dark side, Moxie! You make a good point. They really haven't done much, except introduce the videos and probably provided funding through their foundation. But it's still a good thing, right?

      And Claudia? I've got that Sally Bedell Smith book on pre-order at Amazon. :)

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    28. It's not a terrible thing they've done bluhare. It's just keeping in perspective their actual contribution.

      Paola, close analogy -- they are the folks with the money (from where do the Cambridges get their money?) who don't participate in the actual making of the product.

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    29. Thanks Rebecca. I feel ashamed that I couldn't use my handle to talk about it but I'm not so brave as everyone else
      But it's my biggest gripe. A person wouldn't think they could miraculously heal a broken bone but people think the right person or circumstance can heal a mental illness
      Thanks for understanding me that made me feel better

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    30. Moxie I meant an Oscar to the Direction.

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    31. I get what you're saying, Moxie, and appreciate the perspective. However, even though their involvement is limited (they aren't the directors, they're more like figureheads, Paola), I still think it's a good thing.

      Producers would be a better analogy I think, Paola. They fund the production. The director is in charge of the day to day production and it's his/her vision that creates the final product.

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    32. Maryland Moxie2 April 2017 at 18:06

      Paola - but they didn't direct did they? Not the films, nor the story arc of the films. They are like the money managers on the yachts who collect accolades for Best Picture. The directors spend all their time on the project - that's not what happened here.

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    33. I am not so sure Bluhare, because a producer is aiming to the money, he is an investor and looks for the sales. The director aims to express himself, his creative idea, to give a form to a special and unique message. For this reason I think that the director is more likely the good analogy. Maybe the truth is somewhere in the middle, as it usually does.

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    34. Moxie, you know, the Royal family has not historically been known for talking about or sharing their emotions in public. For W, K, H to be starting to share their feelings like they are is quite singular, in my opinion. Maybe baby steps for now, but steps forward nonetheless. For them to have created the initiative is even more impressive.
      So, maybe they didn't make an appearance at the media release, maybe they didn't do videos similar to those presented but they have done the other things I just mentioned. And, as Julia has mentioned more than once, there is a fine and delicate line between the Royal family sharing and yet maintaining that "Royal" allure. They must proceed circumspectly. And they are.

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    35. SG, she WAS an amazing woman, despite all she had to deal with during her short life.

      And another for the record ... I was not suggesting that different circumstances can heal someone. But how can we ignore the impact of the circumstances she faced?

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    36. Being a person of faith, personally I think that had Diana sought scriptural counsel by someone who knew, had faith, believed in the scriptures, Diana might be alive today. Had she listened and followed through on the counsel of course. His word can truly be a light unto our path. She certainly would have avoided Dodi, I think. Londonabab, the militant faction, was definitely happy about the even remotest possibility of Dodi's family being directly connected to the throne. Dodi's father had expressed that himself years before Dodi and Diana ever got together. Not the wisest liaison for Diana. Political powder keg. She was the fuse. As it was, she got a conglomeration of way out there advice, in my opinion, and it didn't serve her well. But yet she persevered and her spark within kept her giving. And that, kept her going. That's just my opinion. Sadly, there will never be another Diana. Her love still lives on. :)

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    37. Courtney from NC4 April 2017 at 01:15

      Anon 3:33 - DO NOT EVER BE ASHAMED! EVER. If you aren't ready to do it under your "name" then you aren't ready. There is no shame. The fact is you are talking about it and that is what matters. Hugs.

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  2. I watched all of the Heads Together videos several times, and I found myself in tears from the honesty, courage, vulnerability, and emotions shared by each person. I am so grateful to the Heads Together campaign and William, Kate, and Harry for releasing these poignant videos. I hope that someone watching them, who might be struggling with a mental health challenge, can draw strength from those who have been on a similar journey. I know from experience that battling illnesses such as anxiety, PTSD, depression, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, panic disorder, etc. can feel incredibly lonely and isolating. In fact, when I'm severely depressed, I both feel isolated and actually isolate and withdraw from others because of the volume of pain I'm in. I hope these videos remind us that we are not alone in such struggles. While it is true that each person with a mental illness is going to experience it differently, we are still not alone in the trenches of pain and darkness that feel so intractable. There is hope, even when everything may feel hopeless. Hope comes from talking about feelings and fears, whether it is a conversation with a friend, a teacher, a therapist or counselor, a physician, parent, spouse, or a chaplain/minister/clergy. Hope comes from professional support, family support, and close friends who are willing to get in the trenches to help. I am glad to know that both William and Harry have taken some mental health training. I hope they will advocate for the international Mental Health First Aid curriculum, because this is much needed training for everyone. In the US, there are even specialized Mental Health First Aid courses: In addition to the standard course, there is one for those working with senior adults, one that focuses on veterans, one that focuses on public safety, one with a focus on higher education, and one with a focus on youth. And, soon there will be one with a focus on faith communities. I'm really excited about this one, because I teach Mental Health First Aid courses to many churches and faith communities. As a minister/clergy, one of my goals/passions is to help faith communities break the taboo of conversations on mental health. So often, people who are struggling with mental illness will turn to their church or faith community first for help. But, if they don't feel that they can talk with their pastor or a fellow congregant about what's going on, they are far less likely to seek further help.
    I am so proud of William, Kate, and Harry for taking on mental health issues and stigma, and from a deeply personal place, I don't have enough words to express my gratitude.

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    1. Thank you so much, Sarah from US, for your beautiful comments and honest sharing. If I could, I would give you a hug! I, too, am so proud that the Cambridges and Harry for shining a light on mental health, as well as the importance of speaking out and getting help. While I haven't personally experienced depression, my mother and sister suffered with it for years. My sister was 10 years old when she attempted suicide for the first time. When one person has mental health issues, it truly affects entire families.

      Thank you also for mentioning the Mental Health First Aid courses in the U.S. and internationally. Those would be wonderful courses for everyone.

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    2. Rebecca - Sweden31 March 2017 at 17:18

      It really does effect the family. My issues has been a real strain on everyone in my family. And they can admit that. Which helps me. Because if they were saying "it's no bother" and things like that, I would know they were lying. They say that it's hard, they are tired etc. But they also make it very clear that they wouldn't have it any other way! They love me, and if loving me means caring for a sick person they prefer that a 1000 times over than not having me at all! I'm one of the lucky ones in that regard!

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    3. Courtney from NC31 March 2017 at 20:40

      Sarah - I love that you are passionate about breaking the taboo of mental health. I know that so many people are a lot more comfortable talking to clergy or church leaders than psychiatrists or psychologists. Due to that it puts all of you in a very unique position. Good luck! I, too, tend to push people away when I am really spiraling. It is such a horribly lonely circle.

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    4. Aww hugs to you, Rebecca! I'm glad you have a family that supports you. You're such a sweet person - your comments here are always so nice and considerate.

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    5. It can definitely be a "horribly lonely circle". When I'm in that place of spiraling (and actually this has been one of those weeks), I will force myself to take walks. I live near a university campus in North Carolina, so I go to the campus and walk. You would think that being out in the fresh air and being among people would help, and sometimes it can. However, there are many times when it doesn't help and I can feel incredibly lonely even in a room or a campus full of people. Depression speaks a language of its own, known only to those who are depressed. That is what makes it so incredibly painful and isolating. But, the more people who don't live with mental illness learn about what it is truly like to live with one (or two or more), the more they can understand how to relate to someone who struggles with mental illness. And hopefully, they learn to listen and not judge.

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    6. Courtney from NC2 April 2017 at 02:58

      You said that so wonderfully, Sarah. It is a horribly overwhelming feeling to be surrounded by people and feel alone. You are so articulate yet make it personal, because you know how it feels, that your work with others surely makes a huge difference. The more I see of your opinion and feelings makes me certain the blog you are thinking about writing would be successful and provide a small light in the dark for people without support or hope.

      P.S. I in Fayetteville. It truly is a small world.

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    7. Even smaller Courtney. I used to live, for about five years, in Holly Springs, just outside of Raleigh.

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    8. Was there for the tornado that went through that area, but that's another story. My son was visiting from college at the time. We both had some pretty miraculous near misses but made it through. Thank God. Were you affected by the tornado?

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    9. Courtney from NC2 April 2017 at 21:55

      Surfer girl- as a West coast girl tornadoes were a new thing when we moved here. I remember the tornado you are referencing and we were lucky. There are still places that haven't rebuilt and then Hurricane Matthew stalled over us last year and caused flooding. Nature is amazing and scary. I remember huddling in the bathroom when the sirens went off for that tornado. My kids were so scared. I am glad you guys were lucky as well.

      My husband and I were in downtown Raleigh last night for a late anniversary dinner. It was nice but tiring. Any time in public is tiring lol.

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  3. Sarah from Calif.31 March 2017 at 01:15

    Wow, wow !!! Fantastic breakthrough for the Mental Illness stigma !

    Thank you dear Charlotte for this wonderful post :)

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  4. I don't have the words to express my gratitude for these videos. Thank you for posting the link here Charlotte.

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  5. There really aren't enough words to express the importance of this initiative, and what a great project this is for William, Kate and Harry. If they do nothing else in their lifetimes, they will have achieved a monumental effort. These films are so moving, and they will do wonders in helping people not feel alone, and seeking help.

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    1. Rebecca - Sweden31 March 2017 at 12:33

      I agree. These videos are like understanding friends!

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    2. Tedi, I agree that this is an important initiative, however, the credit for these videos is due the organization, not William, Kate, and Harry. I imagine that they had very little to do with it at all. The organization wants royal patronage for the attention it brings to their work and that's a good thing, however, these young royals need to realize how much more they have to contribute. I haven't heard them say much of anything except "talk about it," "tell someone," etc. These videos are very powerful and very moving but William and Kate, and Harry have so much more to do in their lifetimes. To all of my fellow commenters who have shared their struggles and sorrows, I applaud your honesty and your bravery. I am unlikely to ever actually meet any of you but through this blog I feel that I know you. You are all heroes to me. You and your families are in my thoughts and prayers.

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    3. Teri, I agree so much with what you said. And I admire the strength and courage of people who live with mental illness, much less are willing to share their experiences with others. I do think in expressing our various opinions it's important to remember that Heads Together is not a patronage. It is an initiative founded by William,Kate, and Harry (see https://tinyurl.com/mpwd8lm), into which they have invested a lot of public support. And we don't know what their private activities are, so we don't know how much they had to do with, for instance, getting these films put together. (Is it possible their names or their personal requests were a significant factor in getting the famous directors involved in creating these films?) In any event, while I sympathize with people who do not want "the three" to get credit for imagined activities, I also think it's important to give them full credit for things that are known facts--such as the fact that Heads Together and its extremely helpful activities would not exist in this form without William, Kate, and Harry.

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    4. Tedi not Teri. What is up with spellcheck today. I have to proof my texts more. sorry. :)

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    5. Becky, "it's important to remember that Heads Together is not a patronage. It is an initiative founded by William,Kate, and Harry": very well said. They ARE saying something about themselves after all.

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    6. Amen, Paola. And, it has been reported that the concept was Kate's although I am sure the guys have helped build on that. Excellent point, Paola. :)

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  6. Thanks for the new post! I haven't had time to watch the videos yet but I will soon.
    I do have a question, you mention a Kensington spokeswoman, who is that spokeswoman?

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  7. Alejandra Ramirez31 March 2017 at 04:54

    Wow! Amazing post! Thank you so much for your dedication and time Charlotte
    Blessings to you for showing us this issue
    Wish the best to all of them

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  8. Courtney from NC31 March 2017 at 06:07

    Part 1 of a 2 part post because I made it SOO long and this part will make more sense with the other part:

    I think not enough can be said about how to open a conversation about mental health with friends, families or anyone you trust. It is so important that I don't care if they use the same phrasing or give speeches using the same idioms. They say a person needs to hear something at least three times to remember it. Practice makes perfect. The next part of this post might get emotional and messy. Lol. I have typed and deleted this post several times because it leaves me feeling a bit vulnerable but it is so important to talk about these things. If we don't things will never change. never get better and I want a better world for my children. A world where post partum depression isn't whispered about behind closed doors or looked down upon by some mothers, where PTSD in veterans is given the same focus as physical issues, where a soldier suffering doesn't have to suffer in silence any longer. A world where admitting these things is thought of as normal and there is no shame.

    I applaud William, Catherine and Harry for the work they are doing for the mental health cause. That they are using the entire mental health umbrella and highlighting different areas that they are passionate about. Often under served areas or ones where stigma is more prevalent such as military vets or active duty, adult males and children. I applaud Charlotte for her tireless effort into making this blog an educational place as well as a soft place to land when we are all feeling a little stressed and I applaud everyone who shares their stories with the blog and those who show kindness to others when they share their stories. It makes this place such a lovely experience.

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  9. Courtney from NC31 March 2017 at 06:07

    Part 2 of 2:

    There is no right or wrong way to start the conversation. As I said it is a messy conversation at some points. I have suffered from depression for a very long time, as well as anxiety. I have also mentioned I have physical issues as well. I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in my mid-20s. After that the medical diagnosis just piled on top of it. I have always been very independent and healthy so it was like a slap in the face. Many people with MS suffer from depression pretty severely and since I already had issues with depression it got pretty dark. My physical health got to the point where I had to use a walker, at 27, and dropped so much weight I looked skeletal. I couldn't drive and taking care of my kids was almost impossible. I felt like a constant burden on everyone who loved me. I was a mess. My family always told me I wasn't a burden and that they did it because they loved me but I just continued to slog on, mired in my misery. Months fade into a year and my physical health improved but my mental health did not. I had tried just about every tricyclic antidepressant under the sun, not to mention anxiety medication. I was on uppers and downers and more uppers to keep me awake and more downers to try and get me into a regular sleep pattern. I was, still am, very good at "looking" okay. My mom and husband are the only ones who I can't always fool. I still felt like a continual burden on everyone.

    The turning point came in such a weird way at such a weird, stressful time that it blows me away still. My husband is military, which I have mentioned before, and his job keeps him in pretty continual danger from things he can't even tell me. Before each trip they send home a packet of papers to fill out and one is a form about a funeral if the service member dies. It is very detailed and somehow my husband made a comment that he'd rather come back in a pine box than lose limbs or have severe neurological damage because he wouldn't want to burden me and the kids. I said it wouldn't be a burden, because we loved him & would take him any way we could have him. Now I pride myself in being a marginally intelligent person but it took years and me helping him plan his funeral and me reassuring him for it to finally hit me. At that point I just broke down in tears and everything came pouring out of me. He knew I was depressed and we had talked about it but never that honestly because I was always ashamed that I couldn't just smile and be happy like "normal" people did.

    As you can imagine Phil's video hit me hard. I am not going to lie and say that day made me not depressed or that full disclosure made my husband completely understand me, because it didn't. But unburdening MYSELF made a huge difference. I still struggle EVERY single day and a lot of days I can't take it hour by hour and i have to take it second by second or the sensation of being overwhelmed will sweep over me. After out discussion my husband has gotten a better grasp on how to tell when things are starting to get really bad for me which has also helped.

    While I ended up gushing the entire emotional mess out to him at once that doesn't work for everyone. It doesn't matter if you only let a sliver of what is going out at a time. What matters is having that connection to someone. Anyone. My hope is that my story, Phil's story, the other stories shared here and in the videos helps people who are overwhelmed with life, or so depressed they don't see a way out, reach out just a little because there are people there who want to help you. No one deserves to feel the way I felt, the way so many people feel, but no one deserves to feel that way and feel alone. My hope is that talking becomes normal so that if my daughter, or future grand children, nieces and nephews or my husband have any mental health issues or concerns there is ZERO hesitation in reaching out, in talking about it and there is no shame felt by them.

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    1. Courtney, thank you for sharing your own story. I know how much courage it takes to do that, and how much strength it requires to keep going one hour at a time. I wish I could give you a hug.
      I too have become very adept at appearing as though everything is fine, when the reality is much darker and painful. For years I tried many different psychotropic medications and professional therapy, but none of it helped or brought relief. I started to feel like there was something defective about myself, because the professional things that were supposed to help were not helping. Finally, I was told that in addition to the PTSD, I had treatment resistant depression. Not only does this mean that my depression will not respond to treatment, but I will struggle with it for the rest of my life. There are many days and nights that are very hard, and it takes a lot of energy and strength just to function. My best friend is the only who can always tell how I'm really feeling, and knows that our communication with each other is vital. He has been with me through the worst days. Knowing that I do not have much of a support system, he always reminds me/reassures me that he is there when I need him. One of the most liberating things he told me was this: "You do not have to pretend that everything is okay with me. I want you to be honest and tell me everything. I am not afraid of the depression you are battling and I am going to be there with you, no matter how tough things get. You are not alone." I think what keeps me going is my desire to help others who struggle with mental health challenges. As much as I don't want anyone to go through what I go through, I understand that such a wish is not realistic. But I don't want mental health to remain in the shadows and that is why the work of Heads Together and William, Kate, and Harry is so important. I know the message may sound repetitive to many people, but it needs to be repeated again and again in order to make an impact. Talking is the first step. It is just a beginning, but it is crucial. I kept things bottled up inside for years and it caused a great deal of damage to my physical and mental health. But when I was able to open up to my best friend, who I trusted completely, talking made a huge difference. For the first time in my life, I felt safe with another human being, and could find the courage to open up. Safety and trust are very important in these types of conversations, and I hope that all of us can be that safe place for someone else.

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    2. @#$&*^%#$&*(@%$&^#%$%5623187$#(*^@*^&$*7@, Courtney! You just got me all misty! My credibility around here will be ruined!

      My brother in law has MS, and I think he could hugely benefit to have contact with someone like you. xoxoxo

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    3. So well said Courtney and love your sentiment about helping your children and grandchildren.

      Wish I could come give you a hand.
      And a hug. X

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    4. Duchess fan from Downunder31 March 2017 at 15:02

      Courtney, you sound like a very strong woman. Well done to you for being open and keeping the conversations going.

      Your husband sounds like an amazing man. I wish mine was that supportive (or at all) of my flaws and anxieties too!

      Keep doing what you're doing, I hope your post has a positive impact on others as it has had on me :)

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    5. Courtney, I just want you to know your honesty in sharing your story has really touched people. A reader on social media has posted your comments describing them as an example of the "lasting impact" Heads Together can have. Another has privately messaged me to say how much your story resonated with her, and while she's not yet ready to talk about her own struggles, reading your words has helped her enormously.

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    6. Rebecca - Sweden31 March 2017 at 17:06

      Thank you so much everyone for sharing. Something that often get's overlooked is how absolutley exhausting and frustrating it is to fight against your own body and/or mind. It really takes every ounce of strenght you can muster just to do the smallest things. So to everyone today that have made a small step today (for me it was brushing my hair!), I just want to say "I am proud of you" and I know how much strenght it took to do that small thing, even though it might not look it!

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    7. Zora from Prague31 March 2017 at 18:10

      Dear Courtney, thank you so much for sharing! I admire your courage and sincerity. You are a very brave person. Your story is deeply moving and I'm happy that opening up to your husband helped you and that you found strength to carry on. Your experience can give courage to others who face similar difficulties. I know two people with MS diagnosis and just like you, they take it second by second. I wish you a lot of hope and joy.

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    8. Rhonda - Wisconsin31 March 2017 at 19:05

      Courtney and Sarah - thank you so much for putting your thoughts and feelings out there for everyone to see. It takes a lot of courage to do that and I hope that the rebound support from all of us readers comes back at you ten-fold. You are both amazing, strong women who have much to be proud of in this life. May you continue on in trying to overcome, taking one day, one hour, one minute of life as it comes. Don't forget to breathe!!!!

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    9. Orange County Grandma31 March 2017 at 19:53

      To Courtney and Sarah. Thank you for sharing your struggles. They really hit home. I too suffer from depression. I am bipolar. So some days I am up others I am really down. Never know how I will be. I have been suffering since I was 28, now I am in my mid 60's. And even though my family sees me struggling, they really are no support. It is just make it through the day. On top of all this I too also have other major health issues.
      I just try and make it through my day the best I can. I have been to therapist through out the years. Some helped, others were a waste of money.
      I wish you both the best as you go through your struggles. To bad we could not put together a page where we all could talk and help each other. But not sure if you all would be willing to share. I would.
      Just stay strong 😘

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    10. Orange a big hug.

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    11. Courtney from NC31 March 2017 at 21:19

      Sarah - I have had two doctors, medical of two different specialties, tell me I am a medical freak of nature. It doesn't give me much confidence in the medical field. So I have often thought there is something wrong with me. Why don't regular medications work for me? They work for others so then I must be different and different in a bad way. It is so hard to get out of that circular thinking once you are in it. The psychiatrists have never said that to me but I am sure after the twentieth med change they start feeling that way! I am so glad that you have your best friend, your soft place to land when life is just hard. I have a group of women that are as blunt and sarcastic as I am and they have never judged me for being me. With them, my mother and my husband, who is my rock, I don't know where I would be. I, too, hope this will help others find the courage to open up and open their eyes to the people in their lives that will be that ear or that rock that they need.

      Bluhare - Dang it! I don't want anyone to lose their credibility. I am sorry about your brother in law. MS can be stifling in so many ways. I hope that he has a great neuro because that can make the difference.

      Claudia - Thank you!

      Duchess from Down Under - Thank you! My husband is pretty amazing. I got lucky. Especially since he was my first serious boyfriend. Our 14th anniversary was earlier this week and he was finally in the same city as me to celebrate! Lol. Military life is fun sometimes.

      Rebecca - When my MS flares really severely taking a shower was an accomplishment that did me in for the rest of the week. Most days, even now, doing my hair and makeup is a energy zapping thing. However, I "feel" better about myself when I straighten my hair and put makeup on. So while is is physically exhausting the positive emotional impact is worth it. You are an inspiration to me and in many ways your courage in being open caused me to open up. Keep fighting the good fight.

      Zora - Thank you so much. I pray that your friends have many better days than bad and that there is soon a cure for MS.

      Rhonda - Thank you! Side note: There was another mother daughter event at my daughter's school last night and we usually don't go for reasons you can guess, lol. We went this time and we made bracelets and the moms were charged with choosing a charm that was an inspiration or caused inspirational thoughts. There were ones like wife, friend, military wife, friend, let it go, dream big and so on. The one I chose was breathe. Then we had to swap our bracelets and explain to our daughters why we chose the charm we chose. I told her that life moves to fast, we run around all the time and life can stress you out. So when things are swirling around her, and she doesn't know what to do she needs to stop and breathe. Your comment made me remember that.

      Charlotte - Thank you for letting me know. It made all the indecision about posting and retyping the post worth it. I am heading over to Twitter right now.

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    12. Orange County Grandma it makes me so sad reading your family doesn't really support you. So, you have to carry the whole burden alone. For me you have to be enormously independent and strong-minded. Despite your health problems you never gave up, you struggled and rose again, continued and made your way. Very impressive! My thoughts are with you and all the others who carry their bundles so hard.

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    13. Thanks for sharing

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    14. To Orange County Grandma:
      Thank you for being willing to share your struggles too. I can identify with so much of what you said and even though it may be "virtual support", please know that I am in your corner. It takes a great deal of strength to walk through journeys of mental illness, and you are very strong.

      I am seriously considering beginning a blog on mental health...a safe place where challenges can be discussed, feelings shared, and support offered. As much as I want to start this project, I've been hesitant, because I wasn't sure anyone would desire to be a part of such a community.

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    15. Courtney from NC1 April 2017 at 02:31

      Orange County Grandma - I am so very sorry that your family isn't supportive. It makes me sad that you don't have that even one person where you can just be, well, you. I would be interested in a forum where we could all talk and support each other. If others are interested it is definitely something to think about. I think one reason people are finding more support now is because dialogue is being opened and the stigma is lessening in many cases. I will pray and hope that initiatives like Heads Together help provide understanding to people who don't suffer but have loved ones that do. Then, hopefully, those family members that aren't helpful or don't understand will start to and be more able to be there for their loved ones and friends. I know there are Orange Counties all over but are you from Orange County, California? I have a grandmother who lives in Santa Ana and a set of grandparents who live on Balboa Island. If so, it is a small world.

      Sarah - I would definitely read a blog like the one you are thinking of.

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    16. Zora from Prague1 April 2017 at 06:56

      Sarah from US, I truly believe a blog on mental health would be an enormously important thing and it could help a lot of people, worldwide, in this age when sharing with people from all parts of the globe is possible thanks to the Internet. As you are both a minister, a person who has personal experience with depression and other issues plus you are really knowledgeable thanks to those courses, I can hardly think of a more suitable person to start such a blog if it is a desire of your heart. My prayers are with you and if you ever start this project please let us know.

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    17. Sarah, sounds like The Lord might be revealing your calling. Strength and discernment to you. ❤

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    18. Orange County Grandma, big hugs from me also
      from San Diego County. My stepmother had been diagnosed likewise and it is not an easy thing to go through. I am so glad you found DKB, a very informative and supportive "distraction". 🌷

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    19. I think I'll work on beginning a mental health blog. I have a framework in mind for it.

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    20. Please do that Sarah. Then let us know the link.

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    21. Thank you so much to Courtney, Sarah, Orange County Grandma, and others for sharing your experiences with and thoughts about mental illness, and for bringing up such important points--for example how hard it can be when the right treatment/medications have not or cannot be found, and a person ends of up feeling "defective." As a physician (and in some ways from personal experience), I can only say that I am 100% POSITIVE that it is the field of medicine that is inadequate, that no person should EVER feel defective, or like aspects of their illness are somehow their fault, or would be better if they were a different kind of person, etc. Everyone on this blog who has written about their thoughts and experiences is inspiring in their daily, and at times hourly, courage in dealing with mental and physical illness.

      I think the videos from the Heads Together campaign were also enormously inspiring, and whatever their level of involvement in the details, William, Kate, and Harry all have my very profound gratitude for their work on this cause. I found it especially interesting that at least several of the participants in the videos talked about how the very act of talking, of sharing their burdens with someone else, was an essential part of the healing (or dealing, since we can't always be sure of fully healing) process.

      And finally, but equally importantly, my most sincere appreciation to you Charlotte, for your work on this blog and on this post.

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    22. Orange County Grandma2 April 2017 at 00:25

      Thank you all for the kind words and support. It means the world to me to know I have support from people I don't even know. I would love to be part of a group to help each other through our tough times.

      Sarah. I hope you can put together something.

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  10. Thank you so much to all the people who have shared their stories. I salute you for your courage to speak out and hope we will all have the ability and will to seek help, talk about our problems or to listen or help when others talk. Heads together is a great initiative. Well done to all involved.

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  11. Thank you Courtney and thank you Sarah. You are giving a surplus of sense to Charlotte's work. It's unvaluable.

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    1. Wow. You said that so eloquently Paola. How true. This blog just keeps getting better and better. So glad that we all went through the not always comfortable adjustments to get to where are now. It was most certainly worth the effort, in my opinion. :)

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    2. Yes Surfer Girl, it was worth the effort. Heads together!

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    3. *necessary adjustments we made a while ago to make the blog a kinder community where we feel free to share more. (Just to clarify.) :)

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    4. Exactly, Paola. There is collectively an amazing amount of talent, wisdom and strength and joy here. :)

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    5. Courtney from NC31 March 2017 at 21:19

      Thank you, Paola.

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  12. I loved seeing William with the medical staff and the ambulance services, thought that was a great visit. Again, exactly what the family should be doing! National cheerleaders in times of joy, national "consolers" in times of grief. So well done William for getting out right away, as Charles did as well.

    And speaking of Charles, I think the images coming out of Romania are absolutely wonderful, one better than the next. He has certainly come a long way.

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    1. Rebecca - Sweden31 March 2017 at 17:07

      I agree with everything in this comment. And Williams visit wasn't even on the CC or anything. Appearantly it was "private"!

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    2. I agree on both, Claudia. I'm glad William went . . . as an emergency rescuer himself I think it means a lot.

      And Charles is certainly soaking up the love from Romanian children!!

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    3. Rebecca - Sweden31 March 2017 at 19:42

      I agree that him working in a similar situation (although other role) than them probably gives alot of impact to the visit, on top of being accknowledged by a prince and "the establishment"

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    4. Claudia, I so agree with you ... it is wonderful to see Prince Charles being truly hugged. I don't remember that ever happening before, and the joy on his face at a child caring for him spoke volumes.
      Like others, I too have had tears streaming down my eyes as I have listened to these stories and just as many too from reading replies from friends like Courtney. I too am having a very difficult time, and have for the past 9 years since my husbands stroke and now terminal cancer. I have tried to be strong, but have been hopelessly defeated. It wasn't until a month ago that my doctor sat me down to "talk", that these words became real and I knew I needed a lifeline for myself and our dear son. People see Facebook smiles and happy moments and have no idea the desperate struggles that are going on just to get out of bed in the morning. I truly admire the support that William, Kate and Harry have given to this cause. I do believe it's roots have been very personal for them, and feel quite sick that yet another book is being written, when Diana has no right of reply. To me that's just wrong, and very sad. And, what strength it must take for her beautiful boys to have to hear about this again. Grief is heartbreaking .. for them both it must sometimes be so overwhelming. I admire them greatly for this cause. Their mother would be so proud of them, and for the first time it feels to me like they are completely devoted to this subject, united in their strength behind it ... and the outcome of these heartfelt videos is compelling real and totally sad, and yet beautiful in their message. It's OK for us to admit that we need help in times of grief, sadness and the overwhelming moments that life presents us with. I am very proud of the three of them. (And, if in the future if Meghan becomes four ... they will have another voice, with similar values). What a beautiful message they are helping send to the world. Rebecca was so right with her term "vehicle". They are the vehicle that is driving thus initiative, which I'm sure is very real and comforting in some ways for them too. I hope they have had the help that have needed in the past 20 years. It is clear with William that Catherine is as her majesty would say "his strength and stay", I hope Harry has found someone too that can be there for him too. I feel so deeply for both boys, I love that this cause is very dear to all of them (and obviously to many of us too).

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    5. xoxoxox, Dee. You are walking a very difficult path.

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    6. Dee thank you for sharing your difficult time with us. Sometimes I'm in awe seeing what a miracle is the internet, we are living so far from each other and nevertheless we have this incredible opportunity to talk to each other. A hug from Italy.

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    7. Courtney from NC2 April 2017 at 21:49

      Dee - let me start by sending you a virtual hug. A big one. I am so very sorry for all of the pain and responsibility the last decade has placed upon your shoulders. We marry so we have a partner and it must be gutting you go from having a partner to caring for that partner. Secondly, I agree about Facebook and other social media platforms. They show, mostly, the good things in life. Smiles, birthdays, holidays and achievements but often don't show the bulk of real life. Looking at some Facebook pages would give the impression that life is awesome all the time. But it isn't and the pressure, for lack of a better term, or promise of that sunny, happy daily existence can do a great disservice and damage to those viewing from the outside. Especially when those sunny smiles are but a snapshot of long days. Again I think part of it goes back to needing to appear "okay", to appear "normal ". That is why Heads Together is so important. People need to feel able to be themselves, to be not okay. I am very much a music person. Not musical because wellllll... lol. I love songs with lyrics that are true or mean something to me. There are two songs that I hum or repeat lyrics to when I'm struggling. The first is "Who You Are" by Jessie J. I think the line I repeat the most is, " it's okay not to be okay". I think we all need to hear that sometimes.

      The second one I end up singing often and quite off key. We all need to realize sometimes that we are only human and at some point we break.

      Human
      Christina Perri
      Lyrics
      I can hold my breath
      I can bite my tongue
      I can stay awake for days
      If that’s what you want
      Be your number one
      I can fake a smile
      I can force a laugh
      I can dance and play the part
      If that’s what you ask
      Give you all I am
      I can do it
      I can do it
      I can do it
      But I’m only human

      I can turn it on
      Be a good machine
      I can hold the weight of worlds
      If that’s what you need
      Be your everything
      I can do it
      I can do it
      I'll get through it
      But I’m only human
      And I bleed when I fall down
      I’m only human
      And I crash and I break down
      Your words in my head, knives in my heart
      You build me up and then I fall apart
      'Cause I’m only human, yeah

      Again big hugs, Dee. We are all here for you.

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    8. Zora from Prague2 April 2017 at 22:24

      Dear Dee, you are very right about W+H. I'm sure your painful experience has made you very compassionate with others. And it's also true that admitting we need help is essential. A psychologist to whom I turned when I was facing anxiety about my mother's health ( after my father's death several years ago) helped me so much simply by letting me talk and listening. When I was leaving after 10 consultations she told me: just come back whenever you feel the red light starting to blink again. It was very important for me to know that I had this possibility, and after 1.5 years, when I noticed typical symptoms (not sleeping well, bursting into tears on different occasions, feeling emotionally unstable...) I called her and told her: I think the red light is blinking. She invited me to a session and again, talking and being listened to has been very helpful. I believe it's very important your doctor asked you to talk. I wish you a lot of strength but also the courage to be weak and ask for help every time you need it.

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    9. I am so happy that you found a doctor who is level-headed enough to realize that all you needed was a listening ear from someone who could provide more if needed. Blessings to you and your family. :)

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    10. My dear friends ... BluHare, Surfer Girl, Zora, Courtney from NY and Paola ... your kindness had me in floods of tears. Each of you have truly helped me this weekend. As my husband gets worse, the desperation in helping my son through this sad time is overwhelming. It is ironic that I have told you all more, than people that know me well. You all have been a beautiful support that is so kind and comforting. What a wonderful blog and community Charlotte has given us. And since the decision for us to have "names" instead of those that chose to be anonymous (and for those that are, I do understand why) ... the sensitivity, good manners and warmth and kindness is just beautiful. It's become more than just commenting on our gorgeous Duchess, but I feel like I have a second family on here, that genuinely cares. So, to all of you. Big hugs and much love from the land Down Under ... you are beautiful people, with gorgeous warm hearts and I thank you all sincerely. Much love to you all, Dee ❤❤

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    11. You are most welcome, Dee. ❤❤❤

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    12. Courtney from NC4 April 2017 at 01:18

      Dee - I think talking to people you don't see face to face is often so much easier than being open and honest to those we are closest to. If others judge me or find me less than it doesn't hurt nearly as much as when it is someone you love or whose opinion is important to you. Again I send you hugs and no thanks are necessary.

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  13. My very heartfelt prayers for and sincere appreciation of you all for sharing your challenges so openly. And sweetly. We have such a very special community here.
    It is very heartwarming, informative, and such a blessing. ❤💐

    And, bluehare, I am glad I was sitting down when I read your texts. lol You could have knocked me over with a feather. For a minute I thought it must be an imposter. :)
    (I hope you know that I am just teasing you, btw. xx)

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    1. Ha, surfer girl! I do give credit where credit is due, at least I think I do. We just may disagree on where that is. :) Although Moxie has a fair point in that they didn't put much of themselves out there; just their images. In this case I think that's enough.

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    2. Rebecca - Sweden31 March 2017 at 17:21

      Yes you do, bluhare :)

      In this case, they are the veichle and acceleration of the cause, and not the content. And in this regard it is really something unique they can do with their position is to really give that boost to this cause. There will always be stuff that people can find fault in. For everything and everyone. But it comes a point where it's not constructive or helpful and falls into being petty. And in this case, I think it is!

      They are not sharing their stories, no. But they ARE sharing stories that need to be heard.

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    3. Don't keel over, Becks, but I agree with you.

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    4. I agree, Rebecca. And, nice to know that this is just the beginning of their efforts. Many more years to come. :)

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    5. Rebecca - Sweden31 March 2017 at 18:36

      Don't worry, I don't fall over that easily! :P And it HAS happened before ;)

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    6. I'm sitting in a salon having a pedicure and people are starting to look at me because tears are running down my face.

      There's so much I want to express, so much gratitude and admiration that my mind is too overwhelmed right now to organize my thoughts enough to write it all out.

      So, for now I'll just share one brief thought as to them not (or not yet) sharing their own stories.

      Those three are very very hard to relate to for most people - not their fault, it's just they're ROYALTY for goodness sakes :) and their lives seem so very very different from ours. It's hard for us to see them as "normal" and relating to our lives no matter what they do (raising kids, having a normal job as a pilot, etc still seems vastly different then our lives because of nannys,money, etc). Almost anything they say comes with a certain "distractions" - what they were wearing, her accent, some not feeling "one bit sorry for them" with all their priviledge, etc (I do that too).

      So, in this case, while I agree them telling their stories (and maybe one day they will) is very powerful, it's also a fantastic idea to publish stories from "normal" folks like us so that maybe we feel more of a connection and therefore less lonely and isolated. :)

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    7. Courtney from NC31 March 2017 at 21:21

      Rebecca said it beautifully. They really are the vehicle and in this instance that is the very best thing they can "be". It is obviously a very personal topic for them and I think with all the press coverage about their family people know that. We don't need them to lay it out there. This way the focus stays on the thing it needs to be on: Mental health discussions.

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    8. Courtney from NC1 April 2017 at 02:35

      Florida Girl - You are so right. They aren't "normal" people and they have a lot of positive things in life that many of us will never know. I really think that if they would have shared it would have overshadowed the whole point of the videos. Who knows, maybe there is a thought at some point after a set amount of time that is the end game. sharing their stories. Even if they don't it doesn't lessen the initiative they have started.

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    9. Rebecca - Sweden1 April 2017 at 18:30

      I agree Courtney. And I think it's almost kind of rude expecting them to share. People share things when THEY are ready to. They are under no obligation to do it. I think sometimes people think that just because someone has personal experience of something, that they should speak up. But I think that just puts pressure on people that are already under pressure. A person with mental health issues has no obligation to work to destigmatize it, a gay person has no obligation to be active in gay rights etc. Often people do it because they care, but they has just the same right to go about their daily life and just go to work and hang with friends like anyone else. Just because you are in a minority or stigmatized group doesn't mean you have to do anything to change it. Many do, because they care and want to. But I don't belive blaming people who don't is helpful. (This comment slightly veered of course so it's not much a comment on the royals any more...)

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    10. Such a sweet image, Florida girl. Sitting in a pedicure chair crying. Can we relate or what. :)
      Thanks for sharing. xx

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    11. Florida Girl I hope that someone in the staff of Heads Together read this blog and report your post to the trio WKH, it would give them the full image of their success. Great, your pedicure will remain in my mind at length!

      Delete
    12. Courtney from NC4 April 2017 at 01:19

      Rebecca - I think it is kind of rude as well. Expecting that of anyone is kind of presumptuous. Especially since their sharing could have, and most likely would have, eclipsed the others sharing their stories.

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  14. Charlotte, most excellent blog page (as usual). :)
    Thank you for including those videos.

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  15. This last couple of month is very meaningful: we start seeing the design not only the detail. We can see some connection between William-the-air-ambulance-pilot and Prince-William-engaged-as-a-royal; we can see the former as a foundation for the latter.

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    1. Rebecca - Sweden31 March 2017 at 17:31

      That is VERY true! I had always had that hope and thought that he would have more use of that job than some people could see. And I think we are starting to see that.

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    2. Very nicely made points, Paola. Very nice.

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    3. Paola I agree wholheartedly with your comments. I have always thought that William's flying years were going to be formative in the type of King he would become. He has seen first hand on a regular basis life's tragedies and has mixed as part of a team with ordinary people. To me a few valuable years spent in the University of life.

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    4. Paola, I have always believe this to be true. William's contribution to the RF is more like a mosaic.

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    5. "The University of life": nicely said Alimai!

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    6. Very nicely said royal fan, "mosaic". :)

      And can we all relate to "The University of Life" or what. Nicely said Alimai. :) Thank heaven the author of true life can helps us navigate victoriously through that and overcome if we follow Him. There is hope. ❤

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  16. Thank you Charlotte for the wonderful post. Thanks to everyone who makes this a supportive community where people feel free to share and speak out. A huge thanks to those who share their stories and continue the good work!!

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  17. At long last Head's Together is having a real impact. When W,K& H launched it I thought how good that they should combine their highlighting of the Issue of Mental Health into one organisation but since doing so I had felt it hadd had very little real impact. However Kate's visit to Best Beginnings and her very mature speech including revealing the impact of becoming a mother had had on her received considerable coverage in the press. Now these excellent short films from very brave well known individuals have received incredible coverage.
    I take on board the blogger who said that W K & H would not have been responsible for them we don't know whether they put the suggestion forward or not but I do wonder whether all the professionals involved would have done so if Heads Together had not been fronted by the three young Royals and it has always been stated that it was their idea to set up this organisation. Of course it is now being run by professionals who they may well have appointed in much the same way as Prince William asked William Hague to take on an area of the United for Wildlife organisation.
    Interestingly on the day of the release of the films Alastair Campbell was interviewed on BBC news and during the interview he said he was not really a Royalsit but was impressed by the way the young Royals were highlighting mental health. It will be interesting to see the film involving W K & H.
    Changing the topic I see that the Service of hope on 5th of April is being televised live on BBC at noon

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  18. Julia from Leominster1 April 2017 at 15:06

    First of all thanks so much to everyone who expressed thoughts to me in the last post. They were so much appreciated.

    I've just had a chance to read through these comments and the honestly and power and courage of those writing have amazed me. Sarah should truly be an adviser to William and Kate - Head's Together needs the sort of programme she has described. Courtney has written so touchingly of both physical and mental conditions as has Rebecca and Orange County Grandma and others. People always denigrate their value to their families - but it is always and truly an exchange and those writing contribute as much love and caring to their families as they receive in return. When love is there and shared, burdens are assumed gladly.

    As for Head's Together - I continue to think they are missing the need to teach people to be thoughtful, non-judgmental and helpful listeners - that it's important to start a conversation but that must be done to someone who will be receptive. But I hope now Harry has taken that training he will recognise that important aspect that follows starting a conversation.

    It is an irony this video came out for what is happening to Diana's memory and why William can't do what he is asking others to do. Unquestionably, Diana had difficulties but it's clear what this new biography is doing is trying to serve as an apologist approach to Charles' failures as a husband and a justification for his conduct. The last biography of him just a few years ago which was meant to be official, was I suspect more balanced than he cared for, so this new one has been written making him out as some sort of victim, (I confess I have't bought it as that would only support the author and have only read excerpts from the papers.)

    I can imagine how William and Harry feel about their mother's mental health being used in such a cynical way with no possibility of them answering back. I'm not excusing William's recent conduct of acting out a bit (the private part is up to Kate - I'm speaking of missing the Commonwealth service) but I'm starting to understand this may be a very difficult time for him and it is possible he didn't want to appear with his father and step-mother. So I'm feeling a compassion I didn't before. I can only think how I would feel if such things were written about my mum with no possibility of rebuttal. Yes, Diana had real problems but we've seen above that families can work with those problems. This poor Charles business I find maddening -and inappropriate.

    I'm sorry to have to raise some negative issues in such a positive and touching comments section. This section is surely a tribute to what Heads Together has the potential to achieve - people speaking with beautiful honesty about their feelings and the support we all give to each other.
    And William's visit and note were most touching.

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    Replies
    1. Julia, thanks for your thoughtful comments. I would love to be an advisor for the Heads Together initiative, and I have some ideas for how the program could be strengthened and provide greater outreach. It is kind and generous of you to mention that I should be an advisor to them. I wish that I could be.

      Delete
  19. Out of Topic for Surfer Girl: look at this! LOL! http://sunnyssmile.blogspot.it/2013/08/sunny-super-sleuth.html

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  20. ...And that's you SG! http://atlantaevent.rentals/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Robo-Surfer-Little-Girl.jpg

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    1. With all the I.T. expertise I can muster, I will try my best to access those links, Paola. :)

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    2. Paola, I found them. 🤗
      Those are awesome. SO sweet. I LOVE those. :)
      How perfect are those. lol I have kept them on my phone on my album. Don't know how you found those but I am so tickled that you did.
      Thank you Paola. xx

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    3. You might consider downloading one or so of the super sleuth photos, Paola. Especially the one with the magnifying glass. Download it, frame it and put it near your desk for inspiration. Not only for Duchess Kate things, but for all the artful insights you have in general, particularly in your field. Just sayin'. :)

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    4. I'll do SG, it's a good idea!

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  21. As a side note, as for Kate's "posh" accent, I was thinking (and my family goes, "Say what? Surfer Girl actually thinking?? Reeeealy ????) lol
    1. Carole, when speaking to the media in front of St. Mary's hospital, had a "posh" accent (and she was an insight that day into the graciousness and strength of Kate, in my opinion).
    2. Pippa, in her interview with Matt Lauer, had such a tight and pristine British accent that I had to engage closed captioning in order to understand what she was saying.
    3. Didn't James, in reading the scripture verses at Kate's wedding, exhibit ever so eloquently (music to my ears) a "proper" British accent? I love a beautiful a "proper English accent" so much and I don't even know why. lol
    4. Michael Middleton (whom I happen to admire for being a such a true gentleman), also had a "proper" British accent when he (and Carole) gave their comments, given in front of their former home in Bucklebury regarding the upcoming wedding of their daughter to Prince William.
    5. And, may I say, that although Pippa's strange denial that she is a "party girl" (videos on You Tube and photos on the internet totally debunk that, unfortunately) has always, seemingly had the opinion/perspective that they are no different than the "posh" or anyone else. For example, she has said that the majesty and magnitude of that amazing "Royal wedding" only dawned upon her when she was on the balcony of Buckingham Palace when she saw the immense crowds in the Mall. Up until then, she said to Matt Lauer, it, to her was simply a family wedding that she was trying to lend her support to.
    6. So, upon reflection, I personally don't believe, after all, that Kate's "posh" accent is unnatural to her at all, or learned through her Junior high school theatre experiences, the school play "Pygmalion". Perhaps in times of stress it does become a little tight but I think Pippa's was also during her interview with Matt Lauer.
    Just some thoughts about Kate's accent.

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    1. All GOOD thoughts, IMO. ;-)

      And if she has been as nervous as some people have suggested while speaking in public, I sincerely doubt she would be able to combine the appearances with a different accent.

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  22. Another side note. Meghan Markle appeared as a principle attendee to the "One Young World Summit" held in Ottawa in 2016, according to the Daily Mail, Mary Cliff 3/31/17. She is photographed with the former President of Ireland, Mary Richardson, and other people who are recognized in their fields, including Justin Trudea, Prime Minister of Canada, whom Meghan is photographed in conversation with. At the end of the article is the video of Meghan addressing the United Nations regarding women's rights. Me thinketh Meghan's PR team is busy at work. Although I do think she would be in the headlines like this regardless of her affiliation with Harry since she was highlighted in the press in same manner prior to their relationship. She reportedly is already friends with the Trudeaus anyway. Funny, some takes on her attendance highlighted the fact that she wore white to the event, calling it "bridal" white. lol

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  23. Courtney
    have you ever had genetic testing to see how your body metabolises medications? It is a new exciting rapidly evolving field and often provides the reasons why people are treatment resistant. Tricyclics are amongst a host of medications where personal gene expression can affect outcome.

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  24. Thank you, Charlotte, for posting these Heads Together videos. The honesty from the people participating in them really blew me away and their words resonated with me. So proud of William, Kate and Harry for championing this important initiative. These videos will truly save lives. Thank you, also, to the readers here who have shared their own stories of struggle. You are all very brave.

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  25. thank you for posting those beautiful and inspiring videos and thank you Courtney from nc for sharing your story with us

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  26. Courtney abd Sarah
    have you ever had genetic testing to see how your body metabolises medications? It is a new exciting rapidly evolving field and often provides the reasons why people are treatment resistant. Tricyclics are amongst a host of medications where personal gene expression can affect outcome.

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    1. alimai- I am sure Courtney is aware of the great number of drug interactions and precautions there are with tricyclic antidepressants that can interfere with proper absorption and metabolizing of drugs. I took a drug for years before I knew it was to be taken on an empty stomach. I stopped taking it with breakfast-only orange juice. I later found out that interfered as well. The latest? The calcium-fortified orange juice, which I had begun to drink an hour after the med, as with a calcium-containing drug, could be interfering. Antacids can also effect the function of a drug. The latest warning is no calcium within FOUR hours of my med-before or after. I notice a relative now has the same warning on an antibiotic. This may not apply to calcium-fortified drinks, but I do notice a chalky residue at the bottom of the container before it is shaken, Since I started drinking my OJ as an afternoon pick-me-up, well separated from my morning med, I have noticed a distinct improvement in the drug's action. It may have nothing to do with Courtney's or Sarah's situation, but perhaps someone will benefit. Hope Charlotte finds a way to relay this information.---Anonymousa

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    2. Thanks again Paola, for "sleuthing" and finding those photos. That was quite endearing to me and they are a quick pick me up for the moments I need one. Thank you, again. :)

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    3. Well, here we have also Mrs. and Mr. Bluhare among cabbages (another way to say heads together, see Urban Dictionary) https://www.thornbackandpeel.co.uk/1920/delft-blue-rabbit-cabbage-on-ivory-linen.jpg

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    4. That is so cool, Paola. :)

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    5. Courtney from NC4 April 2017 at 01:25

      Alimai - Thank you for your suggestion. I haven't had genetic testing for that but I was diagnosed with a condition that makes it so my body doesn't absorb anything well. Whether it is nutrients from food or medication my body seems to hate me. Lol.

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  27. For Courtney of NY ... you have sweetest heart, I thank you. Your words were gratefully received and meant a lot. Lots of love xx

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