In honor of Father’s Day, Prince William, father of Prince George and Princess Charlotte, wrote an open letter addressing mental health. “I really believe that a child’s mental health is just as important as his or her physical health,” he said in the letter, which was published in partnership with the mental health nonprofit Heads Together.
He cited serious issues that many adults face, like homelessness and suicide, that can stem from lack of attention to mental health in childhood. “While the circumstances of any one situation are unique, it is clear that many families could have been helped if they had found it easier to talk openly about mental health challenges in the home,” he said.
One in five children will face some kind of mental health issue before their 11th birthday, he wrote. Yet over half of parents have never broached the topic of mental health with their kids. “I have been really 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,” he wrote, emphasizing the need to address and correct that problem.
Prince William urged fathers in particular to step up on prioritizing their children’s mental health needs. “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.”