Prince William Spoke to Emergency Responders About the Mental Health Impact of Their Work

It's an important conversation.

Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge (C) attends The Royal Foundation's Emergency Services Mental Health Symposium in London
(Image credit: Getty/Andrew Matthews)

Prince William is continuing the conversation on mental health, this time focusing on emergency responders. The nature of their work means that they are constantly confronted with distressing situations. As a result, U.K. charity Mind reported that in 2015, "87% of emergency services staff and volunteers have experienced stress and poor mental health at work." Unsurprisingly, the pandemic has only made things worse.

To shed light on this devastating issue, the Duke of Cambridge paid a visit to two emergency responders, Will—a paramedic—and Chloe—an emergency care assistant, to engage them in a candid conversation about how their work has impacted their mental health.

Explaining how the pandemic changed the way he worked, Will said, "It was quite a shock to the system, compared to how we had worked. It was scary."

Chloe agreed, saying, "It was really scary, thinking that you might infect your family."

She continued, "I found that I'm really good at remaining calm on the job, but afterwards, those emotions that I haven't necessarily processed, they stay with me and they build up. So my coping mechanism is to just let them all out, just to allow myself to be upset and then move on from there."

Will said, "I think I went through a phase of not knowing how to deal with it myself. As time goes by and the years sort of progress in service, awareness of what you've been exposed to is quite important. I put this barrier up where I found it easier to ignore it all and not talk about it, and not talk to friends, not talk to family, because it was easier if I just sort of had a work me and home me, but then I later found that that didn't help."

The full conversation is available to watch here.

Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge (2L) and Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick (2R) applaud during The Royal Foundation's Emergency Services Mental Health Symposium in London

(Image credit: Getty/Andrew Matthews)

Prince William attended The Royal Foundation's Emergency Services Mental Health Symposium on Nov. 25. Ahead of the event, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge posted an excerpt of the video on Instagram, writing, "Thank you Will and Chloe for sharing your experiences of working as emergency responders and the mental health impact that this can have.

"The full conversation will be played at today's Symposium, which will see 200 leaders from across fire, ambulance, police, and search and rescue from all four nations come together for the first time to address the mental health of their workforces."

Iris Goldsztajn
Morning Editor

Iris Goldsztajn is a London-based journalist, editor and author. She is the morning editor at Marie Claire, and her work has appeared in the likes of British Vogue, InStyle, Cosmopolitan, Refinery29 and SELF. Iris writes about everything from celebrity news and relationship advice to the pitfalls of diet culture and the joys of exercise. She has many opinions on Harry Styles, and can typically be found eating her body weight in cheap chocolate.