Harry launches military mental health campaign - as William and Kate team up with Katie Piper for support series

Rebecca Taylor
·Royal Correspondent
·4-min read

Prince Harry has led the way in a new mental fitness tool aimed at helping people in the military with their well-being.

It comes as his older brother, Prince William and his wife Kate, launch their own 60 second support series, teaming up with celebrities including Katie Piper and Professor Green for a national mental health campaign.

Harry, 35, who is now in Los Angeles, has been working with the Ministry of Defence for three years on a project called HeadFIT, which has been designed to give round-the-clock access to self-help tools to enhance mood, drive and confidence

The former solider, who served in Afghanistan as Captain Wales, urges others in the military to train their “mind and body as one”.

In footage released today, Harry says: “Today, when we talk about fitness, we don’t just mean how fast you can run or how much weight you can carry.

“This is about mental fitness, strength and resilience, not just while wearing a uniform, but for the rest of your life.

“If you want to be truly fit, strong and healthy, you need to train your mind and body as one. Some people run, others swim, cycle or lift weights in order to be physically fit.

File photo dated 14/02/19 showing The Duke of Sussex during a visit to Exercise Clockwork in Bardufoss, Norway. The Duke of Sussex has spearheaded a new mental fitness tool aimed at helping the military with their wellbeing. Former soldier Harry appears in a video on HeadFIT.org, which has been designed to offer round the clock access to self help tools to enhance mood, drive and confidence.
The Duke of Sussex during a visit to Exercise Clockwork in Bardufoss, Norway. (PA images)

“But what do you do to stay mentally fit? Think about what you can do to unlock your potential, and to perform at the highest level.”

Read more: Coronavirus: Prince William and Kate launch 'Our Frontline' to support key workers' mental health

The programme has been developed with The Royal Foundation’s Heads Together campaign, the Ministry of Defence and King’s College London, with clinical advice from psychologist Dr Vanessa Moulton.

The Royal Foundation is now just representative of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, but for a while did include the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

When Harry and Meghan split from the foundation, they did announce collaboration on Heads Together, the mental health initiative.

HeadFIT had been scheduled to launch in June but was brought forward because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Harry said: “I’ve long believed the military community should lead the way for the rest of society.

“For too long we have been waiting for problems to arise and then reacting to them.

“HeadFIT is a proactive approach to mental fitness, focusing on our own potential to increase our performance, using proven methods in sport science.

“This is about optimisation of self. This is about being the best you can be.”

Read more: Duchess of Cambridge encourages charity staff to 'pull together' amid coronavirus pandemic

Britain's Meghan, Duchess of Sussex (C) and Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex (R) make their way in a horse drawn carriage to Horseguards parade ahead of the Queen's Birthday Parade, 'Trooping the Colour', in London on June 8, 2019. - The ceremony of Trooping the Colour is believed to have first been performed during the reign of King Charles II. Since 1748, the Trooping of the Colour has marked the official birthday of the British Sovereign. Over 1400 parading soldiers, almost 300 horses and 400 musicians take part in the event. (Photo by Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP)        (Photo credit should read DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP via Getty Images)
Harry's military connection is an important part of his work. (Getty Images)

Harry’s announcement comes as his brother William launched a daily 60 second support radio series.

William and Kate have said they will make the mental health of those on the frontline of the coronavirus response their priority over the new few months.

Katie Piper and Professor Green have appeared on the first episode, and they encourage people to talk more openly about their mental health.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 10:  Katie Piper arrives at the TRIC Awards 2020 at The Grosvenor House Hotel on March 10, 2020 in London, England.  (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images)
Katie Piper is the first person to give advice on the 60 second series. (Getty Images)

Piper said: “When we are going through a difficult time, not quite feeling ourselves, it can be difficult to tell others how we’re doing. But the more we talk about it, and ask others how they’re doing, the more normal the conversations will start to feel.

“And those conversations, they can be the first step to better mental health.

“So next time you’re chatting to someone close to you, just let them know how you’re coping, and remember to ask them how they’re doing too.”

Read more: Coronavirus: Prince William and Kate lend voices to NHS mental health film as lockdown is extended

Last week, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge launched a new initiative from leading charities and organisations to provide round-the-clock mental health support to everyone from teachers and nurses to bus drivers.

Called Our Frontline, it is a combination of one-to-one support and online resources for any NHS workers, carers, emergency services personnel and key workers whose psychological wellbeing comes under pressure.

The HeadFIT platform includes breathing exercises, body posture and relaxation techniques and was designed for all defence personnel from new recruits, long-serving personnel and veterans to civilian staff and those in uniform.

Mental health has been a key theme of both the Cambridges and the Sussexes work. As senior royals the Cambridges and Prince Harry launched Heads Together in 2016, and work on it continued despite the split of the royal households.