Prince Harry at drumhead service for memorial to Gulf, Iraq and Afghanistan veterans
Mental Health

Prince Harry: Mandatory Military Mental Health Training An 'Amazing Step Forward'

The mandatory training will begin in April next year and will "completely redesign" mental health provision in the Armed Forces.

Prince Harry at drumhead service for memorial to Gulf, Iraq and Afghanistan veterans

The Duke of Sussex has praised the introduction of mandatory mental health training in the British military as an "amazing step forward".

Prince Harry, a former soldier, said the training will help "protect and strengthen the potential and resilience" of personnel.

"There should be no difference between how we view our physical fitness and mental fitness, and training both will help our servicemen and women excel, as well as being best prepared for what they may face, in any situation," he said.

For several years, the British Army has been carrying out mental resilience exercises, which sees personnel build "mental robustness" alongside physical attributes.

Now, compulsory training is set to start on 1 April 2021, with the initiative part of an effort to "completely redesign" mental health provision in the Armed Forces, Defence People and Veterans Minister Johnny Mercer said.

In a statement, Mr Mercer said the Ministry of Defence (MOD) has been "determined" to tackle the issue of mental health for "some time".

"While some personnel already have a good experience, because they have good leaders who take this area seriously, for me the important thing is to equalise the experience for all," he said.

Prince Harry also spearheaded the development of the mental health platform HeadFIT, which aims to help members of the military with their wellbeing.

WATCH: How the Army is training recruits in 'mental robustness'.

Launched earlier this year, the HeadFIT website provides personnel with constant access to self-help tools to enhance mood, drive and confidence.

Harry said he was "delighted" to see steps being made to help strengthen the resilience of military personnel.

"Mental fitness will become a daily practice adopted by all of us as a means to unlock potential in every aspect of our lives," he added.

HeadFIT has been developed in partnership with The Royal Foundation Heads Together campaign.

The MOD and King’s College London have also worked on the project, with clinical advice from psychologist Dr Vanessa Moulton.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex left the Royal Foundation with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge last year, but it was said there would be future collaboration on Heads Together.

Harry and Meghan have since stepped away from the monarchy to pursue a life of personal and financial freedom in the US.

Harry spent 10 years in the Army, including two frontline tours to Afghanistan.

Cover image: Prince Harry at a memorial service to Gulf, Iraq and Afghanistan veterans in 2017 (Picture: MOD).