Prince’s char­ity to fund start-up

Wales On Sunday - - NEWS -

THE Duke of Cam­bridge has praised the “fan­tas­tic” work of the royal Heads To­gether cam­paign, as his char­i­ta­ble foun­da­tion an­nounced a £2m in­vest­ment to­wards a new men­tal health start-up com­pany.

On a visit to Im­pe­rial Col­lege Lon­don’s Data Ob­ser­va­tory on Fri­day, Wil­liam learned about the cam­paign’s progress in its drive to “change the con­ver­sa­tion on men­tal health”.

He heard how The Royal Foun­da­tion of The Duke and Duchess of Cam­bridge and Prince Harry would be in­vest­ing in the es­tab­lish­ment of a new or­gan­i­sa­tion aimed at cre­at­ing “dig­i­tal so­lu­tions” for men­tal health. The start-up, which has yet to be named, will cre­ate dig­i­tal sign­posts to di­rect peo­ple to men­tal health ser­vices on­line, and other tools pro­mot­ing con­ver­sa­tion be­tween those strug­gling with their men­tal well-be­ing.

The £2m grant rep­re­sents the largest sin­gle do­na­tion the foun­da­tion has made since it be­gan op­er­at­ing in 2011, and the con­clu­sion of the first phase of its Heads To­gether cam­paign to raise aware­ness and pro­mote open­ness around men­tal health is­sues in the UK.

Dur­ing his visit, Wil­liam was greeted by the di­rec­tor of the Im­pe­rial Col­lege Data Sci­ence In­sti­tute, Pro­fes­sor Yi-Ke Guo, and the chief ex­ec­u­tive of lead­ing men­tal health char­ity Mind, Paul Farmer, who in­tro­duced the Duke to some of the sta­tis­tics be­hind the cam­paign since its launch in May 2016.

The Prince was shown a col­lec­tion of data vi­su­al­i­sa­tions from the big­gest ever se­ries of sur­veys on men­tal health in­volv­ing 14,000 mem­bers of the Bri­tish pub­lic, and the way the cam­paign has im­pacted on will­ing­ness to speak about men­tal health is­sues.

The sur­veys sug­gested that a to­tal 1.5 mil­lion more peo­ple (3%) were talk­ing about men­tal health in May com­pared to Fe­bru­ary 2017, when the sur­veys were launched, with a 12% in­crease in the num­ber of those ad­mit­ting to talk­ing about their own men­tal health.

The demon­stra­tions also showed the im­pact of ini­tia­tives such as Heads To­gether’s of­fi­cial char­ity sta­tus in the 2017 Lon­don marathon, af­ter which the cam­paign’s eight char­ity part­ners saw in­creases in re­fer­rals to their men­tal health ser­vices.

Mr Farmer said that Mind’s in­for­ma­tion line ex­pe­ri­enced its busiest ever day af­ter the marathon.

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