Prince Harry Joins Team Heads Together & Founding Partner, Virgin Money in the North East


As the countdown to the Virgin Money London Marathon continues, Prince Harry meets runners and Heads Together supporters from across the North East and Scotland who are working to make 2017 the mental health marathon.

His Royal Highness joined training sessions in Baltic Square by the Gateshead Millennium Bridge and met more members of Team Heads Together along with triple jump world record holder Jonathan Edwards CBE and track and field champion Steve Cram CBE. Team Heads Together runners are fundraising for the eight Heads Together Charity Partners or the campaign itself.

The Team Heads Together runners are taking part for a range of powerful reasons to help make 2017 the year of the mental health marathon! #TeamHeadsTogether. Meet some of them:

Mental Health in The Workplace

Prince Harry then joined a charity fair at one of the Heads Together campaign’s founding partners, Virgin Money in Gosforth. HRH delivered a speech urging people to start conversations, watch the video:

Chief Executive of Virgin Money, Jayne-Anne Gadia, then delivered a speech about her own experience of difficulties with mental health during her life and is encouraging 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 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.’


Prince Harry also met staff who have had difficulties with their mental health, talking to them about how they had sought and found support within the workplace.

One of the staff Prince Harry met was Pip Langley, manager at Virgin Money who’s brother sadly took his own life:

“It was four years later when the physical and mental toll of it finally hit me. I was signed off with stress-related insomnia and severe anxiety. I’d thrown myself into my work to distract me from the pain, anger and resentment I felt. I was working 60 hour weeks and sleeping on average 1.5 hour a night. It was inevitable that I would crack at some point but I never told anyone how bad things were, not even my then husband. My self-preservation had gone into overdrive and I was convinced tragedy was around every corner. I mentally prepared myself for every possibility from nuclear war to my house burning down. Leaving the house was terrifying and exhausting.

Thankfully I found an amazing therapist who gave me the support I desperately needed. I was able to finally deal with how I felt about his death, how it had changed my life and grieve for him, me and my family.

I had a number of CBT sessions with my therapist.  We worked a lot on understanding the thought processes and why I was behaving the way I was.  As I said, my self-preservation had gone into overload, so we worked on rationalising some of the more far fetched things I thought could happen.

One technique she showed me was doing a ‘what if’ list.  She got me to write down everything that was in my head – all of the thoughts good, bad and weird.  Then we looked at the list and rated which of them could actually happen.  I soon realised that I was wasting energy worrying about stuff that was never going to happen.  She helped me to understand what I could control and showed me how to focus my energies into making the good things in my life the best they could be.  She taught me how to control the controllables.

Read Pip’s Story on how she coped with her brother’s suicide;  

Watch the video of the day:

Whether you're an employee worried about your own or a colleague's mental health, or a HR professional interested in improving mental wellbeing in your organisation - our charity partner Mind are there to help. Their Workplace Wellbeing Index enables employers to celebrate the good work they’re doing to promote staff mental wellbeing, and get the support they need to be able to do this even better. They also have free webinars and resources to show you simple, inexpensive and practical ways to improve mental wellbeing and employee engagement.

Getting stressed and worried about work, or perhaps the lack of it, is a really common thing. Loads of people calling CALM are having problems in one way or another with work. If you aren’t able to find work or unable to work because of health problems, the stress can be enormous.

Mental health is an issue organisations just can’t afford to ignore. See the other Heads Together activity with workplaces including an event with big business leaders, conversation films with leaders, and statistics from Time to Change showing why looking after your employees mental health is vital for staff wellbeing.

Each runner in Team Heads Together has a different reason for running the London Marathon. Here you can discover more about their inspirational stories and what has motivated them to take on this challenge.