The Duke of Cambridge today rounded on his grandmother’s generation as he claimed the stiff upper lip mentality maintained during World War II is to blame for today’s mental health issues.
William, 37, said that people learned to bottle up problems from parents and grandparents who lived through World War II, such as the Queen who was a driver and mechanic with the Women’s Auxiliary Territorial Service and Prince Philip, a first lieutenant in the Royal Navy.
‘I take it as far back as the war,’ he said. ‘It was very very difficult for everybody, losing so many loved ones and dealing with such horrendous circumstances that no matter how much you can talk you were never going to fix the issue.
‘Completely by accident they passed that on to the next generation, we all learn from our parents we all learn from how they deal with things.
‘So this whole generation inherited that this is how we deal with problems we don’t talk about them.
‘I think that now there’s a generation here that’s realising this is not normal and we should talk about them. We should get over it.’
The prince went on to speak of his own experiences while working in the air ambulance, before he quit back in 2017.
He explained: ‘I was dealing with a lot of trauma on a day in, day out basis, stuff that your body is not programmed to deal with.
‘I might have gone into my shell a bit and thought ‘I can deal with this myself’ and then potentially down the line it manifests itself in a much worse situation.
‘As a team you draw it out and you debrief about it, and I know that if I hadn’t taken the action that I did then I would have gone down a slippery slope and I would have been dealing with mental illness on a different level.
The second in line to the throne acknowledged the fact that there are still negative connotations surrounding mental health.
When he, his brother Prince Harry and his wife Kate set up their charity Heads Together back in 2016, William claims they struggled to find support because of the stigma surrounding mental health.
He added: When we set up the campaign not one celebrity wanted to join us, not one person wanted to help with the campaign because it was mental health
The Duke of Cambridge ended by saying he’s going to ‘use sport as a vehicle to smash mental health’ and work with male suicide more ‘because it’s one of the biggest killers of young men in the UK’.
He said: ‘Real progress is being made and we all need to keep the momentum going.’
Wednesday was the prince’s final day in Davos, having touched down yesterday in order to interview veteran broadcaster Sir David Attenborough.
The Duke of Cambridge has described the Blue Planet and Dynasties narrator as having ‘the single most important impact in my conservation thinking’.
William today asked Sir David about his decades of work – and his message for the leaders watching them on stage.
Sir David, 92, warned of a climate ‘crisis’ and said: ‘Care for the Natural World – not only that – treat it with respect and reverence. We can wreck it all without even noticing and in the end we will wreck ourselves’.
William hailed the impact of Sir David’s programmes and said they had been ‘seen be literally billions of people world-wide’ and trailed his new show Our Planet, released on Netflix in April.