Two days after his brother Prince Harry confessed he had received counselling after coming close to a complete mental breakdown, Prince William suggested he too was still living with the consequences, although he told presenter Nick Knowles he had a good support network that helped him cope.
He talked about how Princess Diana’s death in a 1997 Paris car crash when he was only 15 had affected him in an attempt to help a woman whose husband killed himself five days after their son died.
William’s conversation with Rhian Burke, 39, appears in Mind Over Marathon, a BBC One documentary to be screened tomorrow night about a group of 10 runners with mental health problems training for this Sunday’s London Marathon to help them put their lives back together.
He reassured Rhian, a mother-of three whose one-year-old son George died suddenly from pneumonia in February 2012, that she would be able to support her surviving children, Holly, 9, and Isaac, 8. Her husband Paul, 33, walked out of the house five days after George’s death and killed himself.
Prince William said he is still in shock after Diana’s death but has learned to live with his grief
In the programme, Ms Burke said: “Can I ask you one question? When your mum passed away, you were obviously a bit older than my children but I obviously worry about them growing up. They’ll be ok, won’t they?”
I still feel, 20 years later about my mother, I still have shock within me. You know, 20 years later
He replied: “They’ll be absolutely fine. With a mum like you they’ll be absolutely fine.
“It’s true, they will be. Because you’re aware of all this, you’re already a step ahead of what could happen.
“You try and understand your emotions a lot more than probably someone who’s just lived life without issues, and that’s quite critical.
“It’s explaining to them what those emotions mean, why they feel like they do. Once you start rationalising a little bit and you understand OK, so I’m a little angry or a little down or a little upset about something, then you can kind of relativise it and sort of deal with it.
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“Like you say, the shock is the biggest thing.
“I still feel, 20 years later about my mother, I still have shock within me. You know, 20 years later.
“People say shock can’t last that long but it does. You never get over it. It’s such an unbelievably big moment in your life that it never leaves you, you just learn to deal with it.
“You being there for Holly and Isaac is the most important thing because you’ll provide the blanket of stability and understanding that they need.
“I can’t tell you enough, you doing this is an incredibly big process and I really hope it brings you what you need.”
In the first part of the two-part documentary, Ms Burke, from Miskin, South Wales, told how she had suffered post traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression after her double bereavement, sometimes blaming herself unfairly for both deaths.
It comes after Prince Harry confessed he received counselling after coming close to a breakdown
She said: “When George died we received very little – well, no – support from anyone professional.
“And actually after Paul died a few days later, we were left completely abandoned.”
She has since set up a child bereavement charity to help others facing a similar plight.
William, Harry, and the Duchess of Cambridge were filmed talking to the runners about their lives.
All but one, Steven Maher, who pulled out, will run for Heads Together, the royal trio’s mental health campaign, in this Sunday’s marathon.
Kate, 35, was filmed chatting to one runner, young mum Shereece Foster, 24, from London, a singer and former X-Factor contestant who has suffered depression, postnatal depression and suicidal thoughts.
Shereece said she had found it difficult to train while looking after her two children.
Kate said: “I don’t know how you find the time!
“You’re the heroes really because you’re standing up there very bravely telling your stories.
“We hope to shine a light on people like you, because I think that’s what the public need to hear.”
After watching a preview of the documentary yesterday, an emotional William described how his grief over his mother’s death sparked his desire to campaign on mental health issues.
He appeared to praise his brother during an impassioned off-the-cuff speech after watching the preview at the BBC Radio Theatre in Old Broadcasting House, central London.
He said: “Wow, yeah. I’m speechless actually. I’m quite emotional. So I am just going to take a minute to calm myself down.
“I have my own reasons for being involved in mental health – what happened to me and my mother when I was younger. It all comes back down to mental health.”
William talked about how the death affected him to help a women whose husband and son died
In what appeared to be a veiled reference to his brother’s admission that he had been close to a complete breakdown on numerous occasions, the Duke of Cambridge said: “The more we have influential and very important people speaking about their issues and their battles, the better.”
Earlier chatting informally to some of the participants about the battles they have all faced with depression, anxiety, grief or other issues, the second in line to the throne made what appeared to be another reference to Harry.
“As we have seen, a lot of it is left from when you are young. It’s a crucial area.”
In his speech on stage, William told the runners who appear in the documentary starting at 9pm on BBC One tomorrow: “I’m just so proud of what you have all achieved there.”
He told his audience: “I really think this is a pivotal moment in the change in mental health. I really feel we are on the cusp of something big.”
Among the other runners were Jake Tyler, 31, from Brighton and Sam Tewari, 27, from Cleckheaton, West Yorkshire, who have both spent the past 20 weeks being filmed training and talking about battling their own personal demons.
The royal trio will run for Heads Together in this Sunday’s London Marathon
Mr Tyler has already walked 1,500 miles around half of Britain, going from Brighton to Stoke via national parks to raise funds for the Mental Health Foundation, and plans to do the second 1,500 miles after taking a winter break to take part in the programme.
He decided to take time out after suffering a meltdown while running a bar in Shoreditch, east London.
“I have always suffered with depression and became suicidal when I was working there. It was the first time that I had ever realised that I needed help.”
Mr Tewari, a former music industry executive with Sony Records, said his problems with depression and addiction stemmed from his childhood.
He said: “My dad suffered with addiction all his life. When he passed away, it hit me like a tonne of bricks.”
Both said that taking part in the programme and training for the marathon had helped them come to terms with their mental health problems.
Mr Tewari said: “After going through all of this, we just have to run it on Sunday now.”
Source : EXPRESS