Prince William has an important message for all fathers this Father’s Day.
The prince, speaking on his third Father’s Day as a father, published an essay for the U.K.’s Sunday Express on June 19.
“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,” Prince William wrote.
Mental health—an often overlooked aspect of health—was the main theme of his message.
“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.”
The Duke adds that he and the Duchess of Cambridge, Catherine, as well as his brother Prince Harry have spent a lot of time studying the 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,” Prince William said.
Prince William also wrote at length about the stigma surrounding mental illness.
“Recent surveys have found that more than 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.
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 concludes by saying “So on this Father’s Day, I encourage all fathers to take a moment to ask their children how they are doing,” and 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.”
For Prince William, spreading mental health awareness is not a new initiative. Heads Together is a program Prince William, Duchess Kate, and Prince Harry launched together in an ongoing battle dedicated to “tackling stigma, raising awareness, and providing vital help for people with mental health challenges.”
Recently, the organization released a video of Price William having breakfast at a cafe in London, where he was seen chatting with dads and children about their challenges and discussing fatherhood.