The royal family: Mental health is just as important as physical health.

"[Mental health] matters just as much as our physical health," Prince William said at a recent event in London.

"There are times when, whoever we are, it is hard to cope with challenges — and when that happens, being open and honest and asking for help is life-changing."

Photo by Stefan Wermuth-WPA Pool/Getty Images.


Prince William, along with Princess Catherine and Prince Harry, gave important speeches on destigmatizing mental illness on Jan. 17, 2017.

The royals addressed a room full of reporters at the Institute of Contemporary Arts about the necessity for all of us to reach out if we're struggling in silence.

Photo by Stefan Wermuth-WPA Pool/Getty Images.

The three threw the event to support Heads Together, an initiative aimed at prioritizing mental health in Britain and the official charity partner of the 2017 London Marathon.

The royals dropped some serious truths about why this issue matters so much.

Kate explained how talking really can feel like a dose of medicine.

Harry noted why he's looking ahead with lots of hope when it comes to our perceptions of mental health.

And William noted that 2017 could be a big year in changing the conversation around mental illness.

Coincidentally, the message of the royals' Heads Together event is particularly meaningful in the U.S. right now, where the Affordable Care Act is on the chopping block.

The same day William, Kate, and Harry gave their speeches in London, mental health advocates in the United States got some potentially sobering news.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office released a study that found stripping away key provisions of the Affordable Care Act may cost 18 million people their health insurance in the first year alone, according to The New York Times. That number could tick upward to 32 million throughout the next decade, marking a major reversal in the health care coverage expansion we've seen since Obamacare passed.

This, of course, wouldn't just affect physical health ailments. Many plans provided by Obamacare offered services like depression screenings and included access to physicians who could diagnose and treat conditions like bipolar disorder. Millions of Americans could lose access to these life-changing mental health benefits.

While continued destigmatization of mental illness shows great progress, it's also vital that progress is reflected in the laws we live by.

Prince William is right — 2017 can be a major tipping point for helping those in need of mental health services. But we should make sure the right kind of care is available to those brave enough to speak up, too.

Here's how to tell your representative in Washington you think mental health coverage is vital and believe the Affordable Care Act should stay.

Courtesy of Verizon
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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

As Canada's women's soccer team prepares for its gold medal match against Sweden this week in Tokyo, it also prepares to make history as the first Olympic team to have an openly transgender, non-binary athlete win a medal at the games.

Quinn, the 25-year-old midfielder, announced their non-binary identity on social media last September, adopting they/them pronouns and a singular name. Quinn said they'd been living openly as a transgender person with their loved ones, but this was their first time coming out publicly.

"I want to be visible to queer folks who don't see people like them on their feed. I know it saved my life years ago," they wrote. "I want to challenge cis folks ( if you don't know what cis means, that's probably you!!!) to be better allies."

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