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William, Kate, Harry tackle mental health

Press AssociationPress Association 16/05/2016

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry have boxed their way to mental wellbeing as they launched an ambitious campaign to help tackle the nation's psychological problems.

William, Kate and Harry have pledged to find "practical ways of providing everyone who needs help, with the right support and care" under their new Heads Together initiative.

Speaking together at the launch event, they stressed the first thing was to change the national conversation "from one of silence and shame to one of optimism and support".

The campaign will see the royal trio working with a number of leading mental health organisations and charities to address the issues faced by various members of society from children and young people to pregnant mothers and young men.

To illustrate the role physical exercise can play in helping to reduce problems like stress, the royal trio each took it in turns to put on boxing gloves and be put through their paces by three-weight world champion Duke McKenzie during a reception at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in east London.

The ex-professional said Harry was the more confident of the three and punched the hardest, William held his power in reserve while Kate was described as "absolutely lovely".

The Cambridges and Harry each took it in turn to speak to the audience made up of senior staff and supporters of the charities, who are part of the campaign, and those they have helped.

Kate told them; "Too often, people feel afraid to admit that they are struggling with their mental health. This fear of judgment stops people from getting the help they need, which can destroy families and end lives.

"Heads Together wants to help everyone feel much more confident with their everyday mental health, and to have the practical tools to support their friends and family."

Harry added: "We do not want prejudice and fear to stand in the way of people getting the help they need to cope with life.

"As the year progresses, the three of us - working with all of you in this room and others who will join us along the way - want to come up with practical ways of providing everyone who needs help with the right support and care."

McKenzie wore focus pads on his hands and instructed the royal trio where to punch as they were encouraged to let loose during the boxing demonstration.

Harry looked the sharpest and was left a little tired after his exertions and stuck out his tongue as he panted for air, while William took a few minutes to get into the rhythm of punching and said "I'm relaxed now" as his timing improved.

Mckenzie, who regularly gives boxing training to people with mental health problems at his south London gym, said: "Harry told me he uses boxing to de-stress - and he said he wanted me to be his personal coach."

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