Prince William Discusses Suicide And The 'Great Taboo' Of Mental Health

By McCarton Ackerman 02/10/17
The Duke of Cambridge said that “suicide is the biggest killer of men under 40" in Great Britain.
Prince William

Prince William is continuing to speak out about the “great taboo” of mental health, urging the UK to begin viewing it in the same way as physical health.

Speaking on Monday (Feb. 6) at the Guild of Health Writers conference at Chandos House in London, he said it wasn’t long ago that people with anxiety or those who struggled to cope with daily life were considered to be “weak” or “failing.”

But rather than let this stigma continue to exist, the Duke of Cambridge said it was important for everyone to begin acknowledging these difficult emotions. "Successful, strong people don't suffer like that, do they? But of course—we all do. It's just that few of us speak about it,” said William.

The Duke also touched on the issue of suicide, referring to the high suicide rates among young men in Great Britain as “an appalling stain on our society.” He noted that “suicide is the biggest killer of men under 40 in this country … But there has only ever been silence. And this has to stop. This silence is killing good people.”

Prince William’s interest in mental health issues was sparked while working as a Search and Rescue pilot in the Royal Air Force. He revealed that he and his colleagues were encouraged to speak out when they were feeling overwhelmed on the job, which William said “should be the norm” in workplaces throughout the country.

Last month, he joined Prince Harry and Kate Middleton in launching the Heads Together campaign, which looks to change the conversation about mental health in the UK. The trio urged Brits to be more vocal in sharing their struggles with mental health issues in order to normalize them.

"There are times when, whoever we are, it is hard to cope with challenge—and when that happens being open and honest and asking for help is life-changing," said William. "Talking to someone else is a positive and confident step to take, but for too long it has been a case of ‘Keep Quiet and Carry On.’ As a result, too many people have suffered in silence for too long, and the effects of this can be devastating.”

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.