Prince reveals pressures of his Norfolk role at mental health conference

The Duke of Cambridge as he begins his new job with the East Anglian Air Ambulance (EAAA) at Cambrid

Prince William flew an air ambulance for two years - Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Prince William has spoken of the stresses of flying an air ambulance at a mental health conference for first responders.

The Duke of Cambridge was a pilot with the East Anglian Air Ambulance between March 2015 and July 2017. 

The father-of-three has previously spoken of the trauma of attending calls involving seriously-injured children.

Speaking at the Royal Foundation’s Emergency Services Mental Health Symposium in London today, the Prince announced the launch of the Blue Light Together package of mental health support for the emergency services.

"Supporting the mental health of our emergency services is extremely personal to me," he said. "I often think about my time working for RAF Search and Rescue and the East Anglian Air Ambulance.

"I remember the pressure of attending calls in the most stressful conditions, sometimes with tragic conclusions.

"I remember the sense of solidarity with my team, pulling together to do the best we could and sharing the weight of responsibility.

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"I also remember returning home with the stresses and strains of the day weighing on my mind, and wanting to avoid burdening my family with what I had seen."

Prince William said senior leaders from the emergency services had signed a mental health at work commitment.

He said the agreement sent a powerful message to all emergency responders their mental health is a priority.

"It means that, for the first time, a uniform set of standards for supporting the mental health of emergency responders will be adopted and integrated into their workplaces," he added.

"This is a crucial step in ensuring that the staff and volunteers who work so tirelessly for our nation can be properly protected."

Blue Light Together has been designed to help both serving and retired personnel and their families.

It has been developed by The Royal Foundation and includes specialised information and advice to help emergency responders with their mental health, real-life stories and tips from serving personnel, and guides for employers on how they can support staff.

The prince concluded by thanking emergency responders for their work. 

"The work you do is some of the toughest out there, and we owe you an enormous debt of gratitude," he said. "I would only ask that you look out for your own wellbeing, just as you tirelessly care for everyone else’s."

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