The Duke of Cambridge has opened up about the "stresses and strains" during his time as a search and rescue pilot as he launched a mental health support package for the emergency services on Thursday.
The landmark mental health commitment from senior leaders forms part of Blue Light Together, which will see emergency services across the UK agree on a uniform set of standards for supporting the mental health of their emergency responder staff to be adopted and integrated into their workplaces.
Speaking during the Royal Foundation's Emergency Services Mental Health Symposium in London, Prince William gave a personal account of the mental health issues he faced when flying helicopters for RAF Search and Rescue and later the East Anglian Air Ambulance.
He described how he would return to Kate and their children "… with the stresses and strains of the day weighing on my mind, and wanting to avoid burdening my family with what I had seen”.
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WATCH: Prince William speaks to emergency responders in moving video
Health Secretary Sajid Javid and Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick joined emergency services leaders, frontline workers, policymakers and academics at the event to hear William announce that senior leaders, representing national bodies of the emergency services community, have signed the Mental Health at Work Commitment.
The Duke added: "This is an unprecedented agreement, and it sends a powerful message to all emergency responders that mental health is, and will remain, a firm priority for the UK's emergency services.
The Duke gave a speech at the mental health symposium
"It means that, for the first time, a uniform set of standards for supporting the mental health of emergency responders will be adopted and integrated into their workplaces.
"New resources and tools will be rolled out across the services. And the independent oversight bodies will be able to assess organisations’ work in this area against consistent criteria, which will help change culture and hold leadership to account."
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William opened up about his own experiences within his air ambulance job
Earlier on Thursday, Kensington Palace shared a video of William's conversations with two emergency responders.
Speaking to emergency care assistant Chloe Taylor, 24, and paramedic Will Parish, 27, the father-of-three said: "In the air ambulance any job I went to with children, that really affected me, much more than I think if I hadn't had children actually.
"So, for me, it was the relationship with my personal life with essentially the family or the incident I was at – I found that very difficult.
"There were a number of times when I had to take myself away because I was just getting too involved in it and feeling it. And then I'd go to talk to someone else after the event, which was really important, but it continues, it doesn’t really leave you there – you just manage it better."
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