Archbishop of Canterbury says Prince William helped him seek help for his mental health

By Zach Harper

The Archbishop of Canterbury has written an editorial in which he publicly thanks Prince William, saying the Duke of Cambridge's work on mental health helped him get assistance when he was at an emotional low point.

Justin Welby penned a piece in the Sunday Times in which he said the legacy of the coronavirus pandemic should be that we are left with "a society that heals itself." In his editorial, the most senior bishop in the Church of England wrote candidly about the mental health issues people in the United Kingdom are dealing with due to COVID-19.

He said the pandemic has had far-reaching consequences that go beyond the physical and include "the pressures of juggling home schooling and work... missing schools and... friends" and worries about job security and finances. He encouraged those struggling to get help – and said they should be supported in doing so. He also praised William, saying the duke's work helped him open up about issues he was experiencing.

Justin with Prince William, Prince George and Duchess Kate at George's christening in 2013. Justin baptised George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis. Photo: © JOHN STILLWELL/AFP via Getty Images

"I am deeply grateful to His Royal Highness for speaking publicly about mental health and hope it might encourage others who are suffering alone to seek help and support," he wrote. "It encouraged me to seek help when I was struggling, help which was effective."

In 2019, Justin told BBC Radio 4's Thought for the Day program that his daughter also helped him get treatment when he realized he was suffering from depression. Late last year, he also said he had been taking antidepressants and encouraged people not to be ashamed of using medicine to get mental health help.

"I have a daughter who has been very open about her experiences of depression, and she helped me see that it wasn't something to be ashamed of," he told BBC Radio 4 in 2019. "It's just life – and I got help."

Meanwhile, William has been part of a new documentary about mental health that will air on BBC One on May 28. Football, Prince William and Our Mental Health sees the father of three working with professional soccer players to tackle mental fitness and wellness. The project is intended to use sport to help people – particularly men – get comfortable talking about mental health. You can watch the trailer above.

Mental health is one of William and Duchess Kate's key priorities and biggest areas of work, and they've been very active with several related campaigns during the coronavirus pandemic.

In April, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge helped launch Our Frontline, which will provide 24-hour support to health care workers, emergency service providers, those who work as carers and others during this time, giving them fast and easy access to mental health services.

William appeared on Our Frontline's Twitter account just this week, revealing how he knows exactly how it feels to "put a brave face on" while going to work. The Duke of Cambridge is a former air ambulance pilot.

"I want to say a huge thank you from myself and Catherine for all you are doing to keep everyone safe," he said in the clip. "The challenges you are facing, day in, day out, are unprecedented. Even in normal circumstances, frontline work can take its toll not just on your physical health, but also on your mental wellbeing."

Earlier this month, the duke and duchess also made a special broadcast for Heads Together, the mental health initiative they founded with Prince Harry in 2016. They joined with stars such as David Tennant, Dua Lipa and England soccer star Harry Kane for a special broadcast that aired simultaneously on radio stations across the U.K. as part of Mental Health Awareness Week. It encouraged people to take their mental health seriously during the pandemic and reach out for help.

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