Prince William publicly thanked by former employer as Duke keeps spotlight on key issue

Prince William's 'huge empathy' praised by Seward

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William was publicly praised by the East Anglian Air Ambulance (EAAA), for which the Duke of Cambridge worked between 2015 and 2017. The organisation wrote on Twitter: “EAAA would like to thank HRH The Duke of Cambridge for promoting the importance of speaking openly about mental health issues.

“A number of important initiatives were launched last week for emergency service workers to support mental health.”

The organisation also shared a statement on Sunday, in which they highlighted resources the EAAA provides to its staff and how the organisation continues to work with the Duke.

It read: “EAAA continues to provide all of our staff with a range of support, customisable to their particular needs, to deal with the unique challenges faced by emergency service workers.

“Initiatives such as those announced by His Royal Highness and commitments made within our Charity help to bring the vital and varied support needed to all staff as they carry out the roles of the emergency services.

“Discussing mental health and the impact it has on our lives gives strengths to others.”

After the organisation noted it had attended the Royal Foundation’s Mental Health Symposium hosted by the Duke of Cambridge, the statement read: “Thank you for your continued support of all emergency workers, Your Royal Highness.”

William launched the Blue Light Together initiative in late November, an agreement across all emergency services to follow a set of standards for supporting the mental wellbeing of frontline workers.

At the event, the Duke could speak about his own personal experience when it comes to how demanding and stressful the job of emergency responders is, having worked as a member of the RAF Search & Rescue and at the East Anglia Air Ambulance.

Speaking in front of 200 frontline workers, he said: “I often think about my time working for RAF Search and Rescue and the East Anglia Air Ambulance.

“I remember the pressure of attending calls in the most stressful conditions, sometimes with tragic conclusions.

“I remember the sense of solidarity with my team, pulling together to do the best we could and sharing the weight of responsibility.

“I also remember returning home with the stresses and strains of the day weighing on my mind, and wanting to avoid burdening my family with what I had seen.”

William also opened up about working as a helicopter pilot in a special Time To Walk episode, an audio walking experience released today on Apple Fitness+ and Apple Music 1.

While walking from Sandringham House to Anmer Hall, the Duke recalled attending the scene of an incident which involved a boy just a few years older than his firstborn Prince George.

While he had not realised it in the immediate aftermath of the incident, the Duke noticed with the passing of time the stressful experience had remained with him.

William said during the Apple Music broadcast: “I went home that night pretty upset but not noticeably.

“I wasn’t in tears, but inside, I felt something had changed. I felt a sort of, a real tension inside of me.

“It really hit me weeks later. It was like someone had put a key in a lock and opened it without me giving permission to do that.

“I felt like the whole world was dying. It’s an extraordinary feeling.

“You just feel everyone’s in pain, everyone’s suffering. And that’s not me. I’ve never felt that before.”

William said he could shake off the trauma thanks to the support provided by his workplace and colleagues.

Opening up on how he moved on, he said: “I started to realise that, actually, you’re taking home people’s trauma, people’s sadness, and it’s affecting you.

“I was lucky enough that I had someone to talk to at work in the Air Ambulance because mental health where I was working was very important.

“Talking about those jobs definitely helped, sharing them with the team, and ultimately, in one case, meeting the family and the patient involved who made a recovery, albeit not a full recovery, but made a recovery.”

William has also shown his support for frontline workers during the pandemic.

In April last year, at the peak of the first Covid infection wave, the Duke supported the launch of the 24/7 platform Our Frontline, which provides confidential help to key workers.

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