'A problem shared is a problem halved': Prince
William urges bosses to talk about mental health in a heartfelt speech
to business leaders.
Prince William has called on businesses large and small to take the mental health of their employees more seriously.
ill-health is the leading cause of absence in the UK, costing
businesses nearly £26billion pounds each year – an average of over
£1,000 per employee - the royal told a meeting of FTSE 100 company
he said, should strive to create a culture where it is as easy to pick
up the phone and admit that you are suffering from depression as it is
to say you have a cold.
Prince William (right), talking with
Unilever employee David Titman, has called on businesses large and small
to take the mental health of their employees more seriously
the pilot prince praised his own bosses at East Anglia Air Ambulance
for doing just that for its staff, who are often faced with horrific
life or death situations.
said: 'Work, as we all know, can at times be a source of great
fulfilment, growth and fun, but also at times a significant source of
stress – sometimes, if we are honest, to the point of its being
'As a pilot working with an air ambulance charity, I have seen first-hand how work can affect individuals' mental health.
I have also seen how an employer can create an environment where it is
as unremarkable to talk about feeling a bit 'down' as it is to admit to
having a cold.
Mental ill-health is the leading cause of absence in the UK, costing businesses nearly £26billion pounds each year
of the air ambulance team know that we can get help for what is going
on in our heads if we need it. We know where to turn, as practical help
is well signposted, and we know that no-one will judge us if we do admit
'Mental health exists – just as physical health exists. It is no big deal.'
has started the Heads Together campaign along with his wife, the
Duchess of Cambridge and brother, Prince Harry, in order to help change
the conversation on mental health.
said: 'The rapid increase in poor mental health is one of the biggest
challenges we face as a society and it is a challenge Catherine, Harry
and I feel duty bound to tackle.
of us in this room have mental health, just as we have physical health,
and we will all experience pressures on our mental health at some point
in our lives. But for too long, held back by stigma, shame and fear,
people have found it difficult to open up to others about those times
when their mental health needs support.
we talk and listen to family, to friends and colleagues, we share the
load; we reduce the problem; we realise we are not alone and we break
down the barriers that prevent us from getting the help we need.
'It is really that simple: a problem shared is a problem halved.'
urged his audience at the briefing, hosted by Unilever, one of the
campaign's founding partners, to start setting an example in the
workplace by encouraging people to talk about the issue.
employers committed to changing attitudes, we would be pushing a rock
uphill – but, with you, we can and will change the way we think about
mental health in this nation,' he said.
earlier with already established mental health organisations such as
MIND and CALM, William said: 'The corporate world is quite key to hit.
'It is very proud and we need to break down barriers.
William urged his audience at the
briefing, hosted by Unilever, to start setting an example in the
workplace by encouraging people to talk about the issue
'We need to get people to see the positives and talk about these things.'
also spoke to representatives of his father's charity, Business In The
Community, whose Wellbeing at Work Campaign Director, Louise Aston, told
him: 'The companies that that are doing it well are doing it really
well. But there is still a long way to go,' she said.
'A lot of businesses think this is too a difficult an area to challenge but there are still small steps that they can take.
an open culture where people feel able to talk about the mental health
in the way they do about their physical health. '
CEO, Paul Polman, said of the continuing stigma: 'If you had a problem
with your heart you would tell your manager.....Yet one of the biggest
killers [in terms of staff lost through suicide], one of the biggest
losses to business and we don't want to talk about it.
'Your company won't change if the tone from the top doesn't set a signal. '
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