In an open letter to a non-profit mental health organization Heads Together, the Duke of Cambridge addressed the importance of discussing mental health from an early age. This Father’s Day, Prince William argues that the holiday is the perfect excuse to start the conversation, as he himself celebrates with his two children Prince George and Princess Charlotte.
On Father’s Day, Prince William remarked, “It is a time to reflect on my responsibility to look after not just the physical health of my two children, but to treat their mental needs as an important priority.” This powerful statement can be applied to families everywhere.
Prince William, Kate Middleton, and Prince Harry have all seen that mental health issues can stem from early adolescence. Addiction, for example, “can be linked to childhood challenges.”
Prince William argues that the first step in fighting these challenges is to openly discuss mental health problems. “I would really be disheartened to learn that even with all the progress made in recent years, many parents would still be ashamed if their children had a mental health problem.”
The Duke of Cambridge states that more than half of parents don’t speak of mental health or mental well-being with their children, and that a fifth of children will have a mental health issue by their eleventh birthday. However, he still inspires a message of hope to all parents. “No parent whose child needs help is a failure. Taking the next step and actually getting help is what matters.”
While it may be more difficulty for fathers to ask for help than mothers, because fathers “often find It hard to talk about their own feelings, so there’s no wonder they struggle to speak to their son or daughter about the topic. But we don’t really have a choice. A child’s mental health is just as important as his or her physical health.”
Prince William concludes his letter requesting that fathers around the world take the opportunity to do something as simple as asking their child how they’re doing. “Know that if your son or daughter ever needs help, they need their father’s guidance just as much as they need their mother’s.”