YESTERDAY saw Prince Harry and the Duke of Cambridge join other celebrities in recording a minute-long radio message to raise awareness over mental health issues.

Groom-to-be Harry and his older brother William feature in part of the broadcast which was played simultaneously on hundreds of UK radio stations at 10.59am on Tuesday.

Singer Lady Gaga, actors Dame Judi Dench and David Harewood, and sports star Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill are among those who have taken part.

The broadcast, which is designed to encourage more people to talk openly about their mental health, included Harry saying: “If you do have the courage to speak about it, you really can make things better.”

The prince has told in the past of how he came close to a breakdown after spending years not addressing the death of his mother Diana, Princess of Wales.

William says: “Just starting a conversation on mental health can make all the difference, when you talk about something you have less reason to fear it.”

The Duke, along with his wife the Duchess of Cambridge and brother Prince Harry, has made the mental health of young people a key campaigning issue, speaking previously about the extra pressure faced by the younger generation thanks to their digital literacy.

“A lot of young people suffer from anxiety and social media really contributes to that unfortunately,” says Berni Durham-Jones , workplace wellbeing manager at North East Wales Mind - a Mold-based charity which helps people across Flintshire and Wrexham recover from mental health problems and stay emotionally healthy.

“There is a pressure to have that wonderful life when in fact life can be quite normal and still be ok.

“When I was younger there was not that pressure of thinking about what other people thought about us but these days social media can lead to this impression that your life is worse than everybody else’s and it also allows people to say things they would never say to people’s faces.

“That’s how many young people live - they live in a virtual world.”

Berni was talking at the launch of an exciting new innovation she hopes will help young people cope better with the many pressures they face in today’s hi-tech society.

“I used to work at Coleg Cambria and have always kept in touch with them,” explains Berni. “We had an idea about developing an app because there isn’t one for this area. They were really up for the idea and we started working with the students in September.”

Apps have become an increasingly popular way of helping people suffering with mental health problems and by offering access to online peer support they are particularly valuable for anyone who feels daunted by the thought of picking up a phone or seeing a therapist.

“Mental health does have a stigma attached to it, so for young people having something on their phone is great as it can be preferable to use something that they can use privately or anonymously,” says Berni.

“The students have created three apps for us: one is a ‘crisis’ app, one is about North East Wales Mind and one is an information app.

“They have tailored it for young people and we feel there is a real gap in the market for this, so hopefully we will be able to promote this further for students and young people.”

Earlier this year a report warned university students with mental health problems are in danger of “slipping through the gaps” when at their most vulnerable, amid a continuing increase in the number of student suicides.

Several institutions have seen a number of student suicides over a short space of time, while the number of young people dropping out with mental health problems has trebled in recent years, according to research by Universities UK (UUK).

The report also cited a recent study which found 94 per cent of universities had experienced a sharp increase - some as much as three-fold - in the number of people seeking help for mental health issues.

“There is always help for physical problems but not so much with mental health,” says Chantelle Pearson, 18, of Wrexham, one of the students who was involved with the project.

“I think people always look down on younger people and there is a lot of pressure on us.

“Everyone expects you to know what you want to do when you leave school and you always have to do something despite it not always being that straight forward.”

Professor Steve West, vice-chancellor of UWE Bristol and chair of UUK’s Mental Health in Higher Education Advisory Group, agrees with Chantelle that help for students needs to be better.

“The system of mental health care for students must be improved,” he says. “Health services aren’t properly designed to help students as they move from home to university.

“This is too important to ignore and we must not fail a generation by not doing what is required.”

Student suicides in the UK have increased from 108 in 2001 to 134 in 2015, research states and with 2.3 million people currently studying at UK universities, the Coleg Cambria’s project will surely find a market.

“I was looking for a project where the students could use their IT skills to solve a real world problem,” adds Simon Prince, an IT lecturer who led the students during the app’s development.

“It was a bit of a win-win because they got to use their technical skills to develop the app and also understood what North East Wales Mind do and develop their knowledge of mental health issues.”

For more information on North East Wales Mind go to or call or call Mind info line on 0300 123 3393.