'You felt like you were talking to a friend': Cambridge mental health champion visits Buckingham Palace
A Cambridge mental health campaigner was recognised for of his work at Buckingham Palace today (October 10).
Samuel Carvalho, 23, and his girlfriend Ashleigh were invited by the Queen to a reception to acknowledge the contribution of those working in the mental health sector in the UK.
In 2012 Samuel set up the website Stand Up Stay Strong to provide a place for people to write in and 'unload' their mental health problems, after years of battling his own - including anorexia, bulimia and depression.
Speaking on the way to the station after attending the Buckingham Palace, he said: "It went well. We met prince Harry, Prince William and Kate Middleton.
"She [the Queen] wasn't there - she must have been upstairs having a sleep or watching some television. She didn't attend but we were aware it was most likely going to be Harry, William and Kate.
"And they were lovely. We got to speak to them and shake hands with them all."
Samuel has now set up a new site called Support How and is keen to keep on fighting for greater mental health awareness - something which the Royals have supported through the Heads Together campaign.
Samuel continued: "We spent most of the time talking to Kate Middleton and it was clear she had really gone out of her way to attend tonight.
"A lot of people were saying she still isn't hundred percent well and this was her first appearance since she announced her pregancy.
"You wouldn't think they were royalty because they don't act superior in any way. When we were spea king to Kate you felt like you were just talking to a friend or a colleague.
"She was very nice and friendly, very open. She talks about all kinds of issues regarding mental health and what we did. It didn't feel strictly formal at all."
The event was also attended by other mental health champions in the cultural sector including TV presenter Stephen Fry and music artist Professor Green.
Samuel continued: "I think they wanted to get together people who they felt had made a significant contribution to mental health services in the UK - to recognise and appreciate what they have done and to come together and push each other to keep doing more.
"They were very clear this isn't the end. This wasn't an engagement to say 'yes we've done it, we've achieved what we wanted'.
"It's a continuous battle and it's socialising and getting contacts and meeting people doing similar things... it was very helpful.
"Kate wanted to know specifically what our website deals with the most in terms of mental health problems and I feel that was something that they had set out to achieve and find out what they big issues are at the moment."
Samuel first came to the attention of the nation earlier this year when he fainted on the set of This Morning after discussing his medical condition, which at the time was undiagnosed.
This Morning presenter Philip Schofield was touched by Samâs story after finding him on Twitter and invi ted him onto the show to tell viewers about his medical problem.
He says being in the media spotlight has really helped him achieve greater exposure for his mental health campaign.
He said: "I didn't want to pass out live on TV, I would rather it didn't happen... I try to see the funny side of things now. I made headlines in a lot of the national papers because of me passing out at the end of the interview but that in itself drew attention to myself and the organisation so I see it as a silver lining.
"It's spurred me on and made me feel better regardless of whether it's about me personally or mental health work, I don't mind being in the spotlight.
"It spurs me to do wel l, if people want to see what I do next and what I achieve. But I don't feel the pressure it's not about me personally achieving things but making sure I help other people and other people's mental health."
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