Prince William is doing his part to destigmatise mental health issues, especially when related to men. During his first This Can Happen Conference, a session surrounding mental health in the workplace that took place in London on Tuesday, the future King of England shared about how he “never thought” his career - which has included working as an air ambulance pilot, “several times on traumatic jobs involving children” - would affect him “too much.” However, this changed once he became a father.
“The relation between the job and the personal life was what really took me over the edge. And I started feeling things that I’ve never felt before. And I got very sad and very down about this particular family,” he bravely admit to a panel of men and women.
"Just as we look after our physical health, we need to look after our #MentalHealth." — The Duke of Cambridge, speaking at the 2018 This Can Happen Conference, the largest corporate mental health event ever to take place in the UK. Earlier this year, The Duke launched #MentalHealthAtWork, an online gateway to hundreds of workplace wellbeing tools and resources, which was developed by @Heads_Together and @MindCharity.
William, who has three children, Prince George, 5, Princess Charlotte, 3, and Prince Louis, 6 months, with wife Kate Middleton, explained that he couldn't separate his job from his personal life.
“You start to take away bits of the job and keep them in your body. And of course, you don’t want to share with your loved ones because you just don’t want to bring that sort of stuff home.”
He continued to explain that the logical place to talk about it is at work, which is why it is so important that companies are given sufficient tools to tackle mental health issues. “If you don’t necessarily have the right tools or the right environment at work, you can see why things can snowball and get quite bad,” he added.
“We all have mental health. Just as we look after our physical health, we look after our mental health,” he also said. However, he pointed out that male employees are much less likely to seek help than their female counterparts.
“What I’ve noticed is we could really use some more voices in the workplace. Standing up and saying, ‘Yeah, I’ve been there. I’ve done that, and I could have done more,” he said. “I think setting a culture of this open, understanding, supportive environment in the workplace where HR is a door that people feel they can go to, I think that’s really important.”
In October, William's younger brother, Prince Harry, also made a bold statement about mental health during his visit to Australia, admitting that he has struggled with issues himself. “You need to know a part of being strong and tough is having the courage to ask for help when you need it,” Harry told a group of farmers in Dubbo.
“You must not silently suffer," he added. "You are all in this together, and if I may speak personally, we are all in this together, because asking for help was one of the best decisions that I ever made. You will be continually amazed how life changes for the better.”
By openly discussing mental health issues, both Harry and Williams are making it easier for other people - especially men - to do the same.