Coronavirus: Prince William and Kate lend voices to NHS mental health film as lockdown is extended

Rebecca Taylor
Royal Correspondent

Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge have lent their voices to an NHS film on mental health as the nation prepares for at least three more weeks of lockdown.

The royal couple voiceover images of people gardening, keeping in touch via video calls, and clapping for carers as the nation tackles the coronavirus pandemic.

William begins the narration, saying: “All over the country people are staying at home to protect the NHS and save lives. It’s not always easy. We can feel frustrated, miss loved ones or get anxious.”

Kate takes over, saying: “So now, more than ever, Every Mind Matters. There are things we can all do to look after our mental wellbeing at this time.”

William shares advice from the NHS, encouraging people to build an online plan.

The pair end saying: “We’re in this together.”

Read more: Duke and Duchess of Cambridge joke with teachers and pupils in first virtual royal visit

The video comes as Dominic Raab, first secretary, confirmed in a government press conference that the UK lockdown would be extended until 7 May.

William and Kate have made mental health campaigning a key part of their royal work, launching Heads Together with Prince Harry several years ago, and working with charities through the Royal Foundation.

They also took part in a roundtable with experts from leading mental health charities, including Shout, which they helped to set up, to discuss the response to COVID-19.

Speaking to the BBC on Friday, Prince William was asked about his own experience as an air ambulance pilot in comparison to what NHS staff are facing.

Read more: Prince William praises 'selfless commitment' of NHS as he opens Nightingale hospital Birmingham via videolink

Prince William opened NHS Nightingale via videolink. (Getty Images)

He said: “In many of these cases NHS workers are used to dealing with sad situations but the scale and the speed of what’s going on, and the isolation, a lot of these patients are dying with no one around them, for the frontline workers that is very difficult.

“They are there right next to the bedside, looking after and caring for each and every patient in critical condition, and they take away that pain and fear.

“They absorb that and take it away to their families. The daily rate of that happening it not normal - we’re not super human, any of us, so to be able to manage those emotions is going to take some time after all this is over.”

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The couple also spoke to the BBC about the value of NHS staff.

Kate said: “The NHS and frontline workers are doing the most extraordinary job, and that has come to the forefront in the last few weeks and I think it is going to dramatically change how we value and see the frontline workers. that is the main positive you can take from this - all of us as a nation can see how hard they work and how vital their work is.”

Read more: Prince Harry video calls families of sick children from LA home

Although Princess Diana’s name was not mentioned, the duke was asked about how to deal with the grief of losing a close family member.

He answered: “People are going to feel angry, confused and scared that is all normal. Don’t hide it away, if you are cross, angry or sad, tell someone - that release valve needs to come off or it can get much worse.”

He also gave an honest insight into how he felt when he heard his father, Prince Charles, had been diagnosed with COVID-19.

William, 37, said: “I have to admit, at first I was quite concerned, he fits the profile of somebody at the age he is at which is fairly risky, but he has had many chest infections over the years, i thought if anyone can beat it, it’s him.

“And actually he was very lucky he had mild symptoms and I got a lot of good reassurance from doctors and friends of mine who said ‘listen, the days he’s on when we found out about it, he’s probably passed the worst of it’.

“I think very carefully about my grandparents, at the age they’re at, we’re doing everything we can to make sure they are isolated away and protected from this

“But it makes me worry about those who will be isolated for some time.”

Read more: Coronavirus: Harry and William's aunt pictured making spaghetti bolognese for NHS workers

The range of new resources from the NHS include a tailored Covid-19 mind plan, and support for specific mental wellbeing issues like anxiety, stress, low mood and trouble sleeping.

It has been developed in partnership with clinicians, academics and leading mental health charities and social enterprises including Mind, Mental Health Foundation, Samaritans, Rethink and Mental Health First Aid England.

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