Duke of Sussex Welcomed Back to 2019 Veterans' Mental Health Conference!
HRH the Duke of Sussex attended the fifth Veterans' Mental Health Conference which took place at King's College London on Thursday 14 March 2019. This annual event, organised by the King's Centre for Military Health Research with funding from the Forces in Mind Trust, brings together prominent academics, researchers and mental health practitioners to share ideas around initiatives and best practice, and to discuss findings and progress on better supporting veterans' mental wellbeing.
HRH Prince Harry's arrival at the 2019 Veterans' Mental Health Conference (from left-to-right): Deputy Lieutenant for Westminster Dr Paul Knapman, HRH Prince Harry, Professor Sir Simon Wessely, Professor Nicola Fear and Professor Neil Greenberg
The Duke joined delegates for the morning session to listen to the opening address delivered by the Rt Hon Tobias Ellwood MP PC, Minister for Defence People and Veterans, together with presentations throughout the morning that focussed on international perspectives on military health. After the morning session, the Duke met with some of the conference speakers to discuss their work.
HRH Prince Harry talking to speakers following the morning session of the 2019 Veterans' Mental Health Conference
The Duke of Sussex is passionate about promoting the welfare of those who are serving or who have served their country in the Armed Forces. His attendance at the conference is part of his on-going work at The Royal Foundation with the Heads Together campaign to change the national conversation on mental health, and his work in collaboration with the Ministry of Defence aimed at improving mental health support and training across the Defence community.
Defence People and Veterans Minister the Rt Hon Tobias Ellwood MP PC (l) delivering the opening address to the 2019 Veterans' Mental Health Conference
In his address, Mr Ellwood praised the Duke for his work with the foundation and raised the issue of progress around the issue of mental health in the Armed Forces.
He said "This is a passionate subject and I'm really pleased we are all here to discuss this.
"It is a journey and I do believe we are winning but it is a long journey that we need to keep working at.
"With better education, better promotion of the fact that you can be looked after and it will not affect your career prospects if you say 'Boss I need to be sorted out, can I just check myself out'.
"They need to be able to say 'fine, get yourself sorted out, come back in and make yourself better', rather than allowing those individual, possibly small issues, to exacerbate.
"Society's attitudes are changing which is a good thing, it isn't just us on this journey.
Mr Ellwood also revealed during his address that the Ministry of Defence is undertaking "a 17,000-person study in those that had actually served in Afghanistan and Iraq to check up on them and see their progress".
Among other guest speakers addressing this year's conference were Professor Zahava Solomon of Tel Aviv University, Dr Charles Winstanley of Combat, BBC Defence Correspondent Jonathan Beale, and Dr Jonathan Leach of NHS England.
The 2020 Veterans' Mental Health Conference will take place on Thursday 12 March 2020 in the Great Hall, King's College London.
You can register your details to be placed on our list to be notified when tickets become available by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
A dedicated Veterans' Mental Health Conference website can also be found here.