Prince William urges dads to discuss mental health with children

The Duke of Cambridge has encouraged dads to open up about their feelings and to talk to their children about mental health

 

Image: REUTERS/Toby Melville

In an article published in the Sunday Express, Prince William warned that unresolved mental health problems can "alter the course of a child's life forever".

The Royal dad of two said that men often find it difficult to talk about their own feelings, “so there’s no wonder they struggle to speak to their son or daughter about the topic”.

The Prince celebrated his third Father’s Day on Sunday, and said the day was an opportunity for him to reflect on his responsibility to look after his children’s mental and physical health.

He said: “If your son or daughter ever needs help, they need their father’s guidance and support just as much as they need their mother’s.”

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry launched their Heads Together campaign in April in partnership with a number of mental health charities.

A spokesperson said at the time: “They are passionate about tackling the stigma surrounding the issue... [The] fear of prejudice and judgement stops people from getting help and can destroy families and end lives.”

Last week, Prince William met with a group of dads and their children at a café near Kensington Palace to discuss mental health and the importance of communication.

The Prince’s views are shared by Britain’s leading public health expert, Professor David Ashton, who called for parents to be more open with their children earlier this month.

Speaking to The Times, he said: “If you don’t answer children’s questions openly when they’re small, to create the building blocks for more mature conversations later on, they won’t ask you things when they get to puberty.”

Professor Ashton, who is the outgoing president of the Faculty of Public Health, also called on the Government to provide parenting lessons to new mums and dads:

“Given the huge financial and human cost of mental health problems, we must do more to tackle their causes, just as we have done for physical health problems like cardiovascular disease. We also need more research to establish the most effective ways of doing this.”


For advice on looking after your own mental health and the mental health of your children, visit www.mind.org.uk

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