Everyone is concerned about how kids are doing and coping during coronavirus shutdowns, including Prince William, who is worried about the "long-term effect" of how these extended quarantine measures and school closures will impact children's mental health in the future.
The father of three recently sat down for a video chat with health care workers at the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust in Northern Ireland from his country home at Anmer Hall. Prince William had a conversation with the caregivers including consultant psychiatrist Frances Doherty, who works at a mental health unit for teens, about the effect the coronavirus lockdown might be having on the mental health of young people in particular.
"I’m particularly worried as to how the young people are going to cope long-term because we’re all muddling through this period at the moment and helping each other," Prince William said during the video chat. "But the long-term implications — of school being missed, anxiety levels, family members sadly dying and the sort of general economic outlook."
Along with his wife Kate Middleton, Prince William has worked hard to try to end the stigma around mental health awareness through his charitable work including Heads Together, the couple's mental health initiative for the United Kingdom. So it certainly makes sense that he would share his concerns about mental health, especially in young people at a time when they are unable to connect with their loved ones in real life.
The mental health concerns of young people presumably feel even more pressing to Prince William as a father to 6-year-old Prince George, 5-year-old Princess Charlotte, and 2-year-old Prince Louis. He and Middleton are currently quarantining with their children and working on homeschooling, but the Duchess of Cambridge admitted during an an ITV News interview that she has struggled to find a way to explain what's happening to her kids. "It’s hard to explain to a 5 and nearly 6 or 7-year-old what’s going on," she said.
While Prince William might be concerned about the effect of the pandemic on the mental health of young people, he will certainly be encouraging his own kids to talk about their feelings. In 2017, he spoke to male suicide prevention magazine CALM about his hopes for his children, saying: "Catherine and I are clear that we want both George and Charlotte to grow up feeling able to talk about their emotions and feelings. Emotional intelligence is key for us all to deal with the complexities of life and relationships.”
It's a difficult time for everyone, of course, but the fact that Prince William is sharing his concerns about mental health for young people is a positive sign for the future.
If you think you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, which include fever, shortness of breath, and cough, call your doctor before going to get tested. If you’re anxious about the virus’s spread in your community, visit the CDC for up-to-date information and resources, or seek out mental health support. You can find all of Romper’s parents + coronavirus coverage here, and Bustle’s constantly updated, general “what to know about coronavirus” here.