Prince William kicked off his third Father’s Day by writing a new message encouraging dads to open up to their kids about mental health.
The Duke of Cambridge, 33, penned an editorial for Heads Together on Sunday, June 19, to explain that the holiday is the perfect opportunity for fathers to chat with their little ones.
“Today I celebrate my third Father’s Day as a father,” he wrote. “For me it is a day not just to celebrate how fortunate I am for my young family, but to reflect on just how much I’ve learned about fatherhood and the issues facing fathers in all walks of life. In particular, 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 just as important a priority.”
He continued, “Along with Catherine and Harry, I have been spending a lot of time working on issues around mental health. What we have seen time and time again is that so many of the issues that adolescents and adults are dealing with can be linked to unresolved childhood challenges — addicts that were not getting treatment for a serious psychological condition that started in their teens; men who committed suicide who had been depressed since they were in primary school; homeless teenagers who could not confront significant emotional challenges.”
The father of two then noted that these families may have been able to get help if they spoke openly about the mental health challenges present in their homes. He also acknowledged the stigma surrounding mental health problems.
— Heads Together (@heads_together) June 19, 2016
“Recent surveys have found that over half of parents have never broached the topic of mental well-being with their children, and a third would feel like failures if their child needed help,” the British prince added. “That’s so sad — no parents whose child needs help is a failure. Taking the next step and actually getting help is what matters.”
Prince William concluded the open letter by urging his fellow fathers to “take a moment to ask their children how they are doing.”
“Take the opportunity to discuss how you are coping with life and fatherhood with your wife, partner or with your friends,” he said. “And know that 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, Catherine, are parents of Prince George, 2, and Princess Charlotte, 13 months.