Back in 2016/17, Duchess Kate, Prince Harry and Prince William were really trying to do the most to launch Heads Together and make it seem like a big new thing. For the record, I still believe Heads Together is basically just a charity conglomerate, an umbrella organization which allegedly funnels money to already-existing charities. Heads Together is supposed to be the banner organization, and the banner is “mental health.” There’s been subtle criticism from some quarters outside and inside the palaces that William, Harry and Kate need to stop banging on endlessly about their feelings and just get to work. As I’ve said, I believe they all care about these issues, but the execution and messaging often leaves something to be desired.
Anyway, Prince William has been in Davos this week to do forums on the environment and… mental health. He was the centerpiece of a panel discussion (which involved New Zealand’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern) on mental health and mental illness. And William spilled some tea about how celebrities didn’t even want to get involved with Heads Together.
The stigma surrounding mental health issues was enough to make stars turn down a campaign started by Prince William, Kate Middleton and Prince Harry. During a panel on the subject at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Wednesday, William shared that working with veterans, disadvantaged children and other groups of people led to realize that many problems fell under the umbrella of mental well-being.
Together with his brother and wife, he launched the Heads Together initiative to focus on mental health three years ago – but even the royal trio had trouble getting famous faces to join their cause.
“What was interesting when we set up the campaign, not one celebrity wanted to join us,” William, 36, said. “Not one person wanted to be involved in the mental health campaign Heads Together. The royal dad of three added that they went out to “a lot of people” and “nobody” was interested.
Heads Together still moved forward, and Prince William has noticed that many more people are willing to speak about the issues now.
“That was three years ago, and that was a big deal,” he shared. “Obviously, once we started getting the ball rolling and once we started showing people a lot more of what we’re going to do, people realized that Catherine, Harry and I put our necks on the line here. That actually maybe it was okay, we could join. Then some very brave people came forward from celebrities and from normal people who decided this was really important and they bravely took on the task of speaking about mental health.”
A few things… he actually did get one celebrity on the hook for Heads Together. In 2017, Lady Gaga did a video with William, where she tried to bring some charisma and he seemed rather flat. This video was actually not well-received when it debuted – it was seen as way too informal, and William was seen as way too “chummy” with a pop star like Gaga.
Maybe it was the script? But yeah, he did get one celebrity interested, it’s weird that he doesn’t remember Gaga taking time out of her day to help him. As for the other celebrities who possibly said no… I have a theory. My theory is that William – especially William – does not have the best reputation in the British acting community because he fails to show up for the BAFTA dinner at Kensington Palace every year (and he’s the president of BAFTA!!!), and he’s only attended the BAFTAs a handful of times. He doesn’t give a sh-t and it shows and so of course celebrities are like “who needs this, it’s going to be a pain in the ass.” I mean, Kate doesn’t even show up for her patronages’ big galas and celebrities have to take up the slack for the royal patrons! Anyway, that’s just my theory – it’s less about British celebrities wanting to avoid an association with a mental health charity and more like British celebrities being understandably and reasonably reticent about working with William and Kate in particular.
Another theory: maybe celebrities don’t want to get involved because William is so eager to take personal credit for starting the conversation about mental health?
"I still find it very difficult to talk about it." — The Duke of Cambridge on the importance of talking #MentalHealth, and his own experience working as an Air Ambulance Pilot #WEF19 pic.twitter.com/2nimIAqwiQ
— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) January 23, 2019
Photos courtesy of Getty.