Prince William warns of 'mental health catastrophe' from lockdown

Royal fans have praised the duke for checking in on struggling businesses 

Sarah Young
Tuesday 20 October 2020 09:29
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The Duke of Cambridge has warned of a “mental health catastrophe” caused by further lockdown measures during a video call with business owners in Liverpool.

The Liverpool City Region has been placed under the harshest Tier 3 restrictions. This means pubs and bars are closed in the area unless they can serve meals, and households are banned from mixing indoors and outdoors. Casinos, bookmakers and gyms are also shut.

On Monday, William spoke to DJ Yousef, who runs the city's The Circus nightclub, and Natalie Haywood, an entrepreneur who runs the wedding, events and restaurant venues Leaf, Oh Me Oh My and One Fine Day.

Kensington Palace confirmed the trio discussed the impact the Covid-19 outbreak was having on the hospitality industry, while Ms Haywood said the duke was particularly concerned by the effect further lockdown restrictions could have on people’s mental health.

“William was extremely empathetic to our situation and really wanted to listen to what is actually happening on the ground,” she told The Sun.

“He was very focussed on the wellbeing of things and spoke of the mental health catastrophe Britain will face if people aren’t allowed to experience social aspects of their lives.

“Yousef told him that music, socialising and being with friends is absolutely central to dealing with people’s mental health and William absolutely agreed with that.”

A royal aide said the issue of mental health was “always at the forefront of the duke and the duchess’s mind”.

“The mental health of the nation is always a priority. And it will only be in the coming months that we see how acutely this is being affected by what is happening,” the spokesperson said.

“It’s clear that different parts of the country are feeling the effects [of the pandemic] in different ways. Sometimes just listening to people can help provide reassurance that their voices are being heard.”

On Twitter, royal fans praised William for taking the time to speak with businesses owners who are struggling during the pandemic.

“So nice of Prince William to check on the hospitality industry,” one person wrote. “Its been the worse effected, lots of people struggling to keep their jobs or get the hours they need to keep food on the table.”

Another person agreed, adding: “Liverpool is tier 3 right now with the strictest restrictions, it’s nice of the duke to check in with them at what must be a difficult time.”

The restrictions on Liverpool came into effect on Wednesday 14 October.

The prime minister said immediate action was necessary because data on rising coronavirus cases were flashing “like dashboard warnings in a passenger jet”.

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