Prince William talks about 'tipping point' of dealing with suicides and mental health

'Suicide is the biggest killer of men under 45 in the UK – which is absolutely appalling', says the heir to the throne

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The Independent Online

Prince William has said he was "shocked" when he began investigating British male suicides after his first call out as an air ambulance pilot was to a man who had killed himself.

He said there were "five suicides or attempted suicides every day in East Anglia" where he was working. 

"When I looked into it I was shocked by how bad this situation is – suicide is the biggest killer of men under 45 in the UK – which is absolutely appalling," he told CALMzine, a quarterly magazine from Campaign Against Living Miserably (Calm), where he was jointly interviewed with his brother Prince Harry.  

According to the 2017 Suicide Statistics Report by the Samaritans charity, the highest suicide rate in the UK is for men aged 40-44 years old. Men remain approximately three times more likely to take their own lives.

The heir to the throne also expressed support for his brother, who recently admitted that he had sought the help of a counsellor in his late twenties to deal with the “total chaos” brought about by the death of his mother.

The Duke of Cambridge also praised the UK Grime artist Stormzy for talking about his experience with mental health issues.

Calling his comments “incredibly powerful”, he said they will “help young men feel that it’s a sign of strength to talk about and look after your mind as well as your body”.

The Prince added that he intends to raise his children Charlotte and George in a way that they are able to comfortably express their feelings.

Prince Harry, who served two tours in Afghanistan, has also campaigned to raise awareness of mental health issues in the army.

“The military is a complex picture as on one hand there is an incredible sense of brotherhood and belonging between you and your mates,” he told CALMzine. 

However, he admitted that “support for each other hasn’t, up to now, included looking after how your buddy is feeling and thinking about things. When you’re serving you look after your physical health, your training, your equipment, but not your head”.

He hopes that men talking about their mental health will encourage others to do the same.

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