I have been really disheartened

I celebrate my third Father’s Day as a father.

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.

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.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 11: Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Princess Charlotte of Cambridge, Prince George and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh and Sophie, Countess of Wessex stand on the balcony during the Trooping the Colour, this year marking the Queen's 90th birthday at The Mall on June 11, 2016 in London, England. The ceremony is Queen Elizabeth II's annual birthday parade and dates back to the time of Charles II in the 17th Century when the Colours of a regiment were used as a rallying point in battle. (Photo by James Devaney/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND – JUNE 11: Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Princess Charlotte of Cambridge, Prince George and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh and Sophie, Countess of Wessex stand on the balcony during the Trooping the Colour, this year marking the Queen’s 90th birthday at The Mall on June 11, 2016 in London, England. The ceremony is Queen Elizabeth II’s annual birthday parade and dates back to the time of Charles II in the 17th Century when the Colours of a regiment were used as a rallying point in battle. (Photo by James Devaney/Getty Images)

Along with Catherine and Harry I have been spending a lot of time working on 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.

While the circumstances of any one situation are unique, it is clear that many families could have been helped if they had found it easier to talk openly about mental health challenges in the home.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge as they sit with their son Prince George in the garden of the Middleton family home in Bucklebury
Duke and Duchess of Cambridge as they sit with their son Prince George in the garden of the Middleton family home in Bucklebury

And I have been really disheartened to learn that even with all the progress made in recent years, many parents would still be ashamed if their children had a mental health problem.

No parents whose child needs help is a failure
Prince William

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.

The Queen's 90th birthday celebration continued this Saturday at the annual Trooping of the Color Photo (C) GETTY IMAGES
The Queen’s 90th birthday celebration continued this Saturday at the annual Trooping of the Color Photo (C) GETTY IMAGES

That’s so sad – no parents whose child needs help is a failure. Taking the next step and actually getting help is what matters. We know that fathers find asking for help harder than mothers.

Less than a third of fathers say they believe that the emotional needs of their children is a fundamental priority.

Source: EXPRESS CO UK

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