Warning: This post deals with mental health and may be triggering for some readers.
The 36-year-old spoke about his time working as a pilot with the East Anglia Air Ambulance (EAAA), a role he held from 2015 to July of 2017, and how his everyday exposure to trauma took a personal toll.
“I took a lot home without realising it,” he said.
“You see many sad things every day that you think life is like that.
“You’re always dealing with despair and sadness and injury. The attrition builds up and you never really have the opportunity to offload anything if you’re not careful.”
Mental Health At Work is an online initiative that offers employees tools and guidance on how they can support their colleagues or speak about their own experiences with mental health in the workplace.
The platform was launched by UK organisation Heads Together, which is spearheaded by Prince William, along with his wife, Kate Middleton, and Prince Harry.
You can watch a part of his speech in this footage captured by People’s Chief Foreign Correspondent, Simon Perry.
Prince William says he was “stunned” @heads_together research showed that just 2% of people feel comfortable talking to workplace HR about mental health @MindCharity @people pic.twitter.com/Ha9xVj1bC3
— Simon Perry (@SPerryPeoplemag) September 11, 2018
In his speech, Prince William spoke in particular about mental health among health care professionals – something close to his heart – while also sharing research from Heads Together, which found only 2 per cent of people in the UK feel comfortable talking to their workplace HR about mental health.
“You’re human and a lot of people forget the battles, you have shut it off to do the job – but ultimately something pierces the armour,” he said.
Along with Prince Harry and the Duchess of Cambridge, mental health is a particular passion point for the father-of-three. In April last year the three of them spoke about the negative impact of social media on depression and anxiety in children and teenagers, as well as the importance of not being ashamed of your struggles.
“It’s okay to have that conversation, even if it is uncomfortable, or awkward but it’s just starting it,” Kate said.
Prince William also shared how fatherhood has shaped his understanding of his own mental health.
“When you have children, it really does put your own emotions and your own life into perspective,” he said
“It’s been very, very interesting understanding why I get so upset about some things and why some things really affect me.
“I feel quite a lot more than I used to.”
Watch Prince William, Prince Harry and Duchess Catherine talk about mental health awareness for Heads Together.
Closer to home, today is R U OK? Day which invites us to ask our friends, colleagues and family, “are you ok?”, in an effort to ignite conversations around mental health and suicide prevention – something the Duke of Cambridge also touched on in his speech launching Mental Health At Work.
“The thing with mental health is we often only talk about it when the situation becomes serious, when people are pushed to the brink, or tragically pushed too far. Yet the reality is we all have mental health,” he said.
“I doubt there’s anyone who can say they’ve gone through life without profound sadness, or gone without a day of feeling completely anxious or on edge.”
What do you think about the royal’s speech on mental health? Tell us in a comment below.
If you think you may be experiencing depression or another mental health problem, please contact your general practitioner or in Australia, contact Lifeline 13 11 14 for support or beyondblue at 1300 22 4636.