Virgin Money’s Charity of the Year, Heads Together, which is spearheaded by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry, aims to start millions of conversations on mental health, to reduce the stigma and normalise discussions around mental health. We were delighted to welcome Prince Harry to our offices in Gosforth today, after a quick training session in Newcastle, to discuss the campaign and how mental health can manifest in so many different ways.
His Royal Highness joined the session in Baltic Square, by the Gateshead Millennium Bridge, and members of Team Heads Together along with triple jump world record holder Jonathan Edwards CBE and track and field champion Steve Cram CBE.
After the session, Prince Harry joined our CEO Jayne-Anne Gadhia and colleagues in our Gosforth office. Jayne-Anne delivered a very personal speech about her own experience of difficulties with mental health during her life and encouraged people in the business to feel able to start conversations about their feelings with colleagues, friends and family. Jayne-Anne said:
Like so many people, I have lived with mental health issues for periods of my life. After my daughter, Amy, was born in 2002 I experienced serious post-natal depression. I had expected to be full of joy, heavy black clouds of depression settled on me and wouldn’t let go.
It got so bad that I couldn’t bear being in our house and one weekend I hit rock bottom.
I told my then boss and now Virgin Money Board member, Norman McLuskie, that I needed to take some more time off work. Looking back, I am so glad that I had that conversation with Norman about how I was feeling. He couldn’t have been more supportive, and he gave me the time and space to work out what to do next.
His Royal Highness also met with colleagues who have had difficulties with their mental health and talked to them about how they had sought and found support within the workplace.
To learn more about the type of conversations Heads Together want to start, visit their website.