Prince and Princess of Wales visit Birmingham, calling for 'concrete action' on mental health

  • Watch the Prince and Princess of Wales' speeches to mark World Mental Health Day

The Prince and Princess of Wales have been in Birmingham to speak to young people as they mark World Mental Health Day.

The couple, alongside their Royal Foundation and in partnership with youth charity The Mix and BBC Radio 1, hosted a forum for young people at the Custard Factory in Digbeth.

The theme of the discussion, 'Exploring our Emotional Worlds', is said to "focus on the importance of understanding our emotions and building positive relationships as the bedrock of our mental wellbeing."

A survey commissioned by The Royal Foundation found almost all those questioned thought their peers were having issues with their mental health.

William and Katherine are attending a series of events across the country this week to highlight the topic of mental health, starting in Birmingham where they hosted a discussion forum with young people about the issue.

The Prince of Wales speaks to young people at the Factory Works in Birmingham Credit: Kirsty Wigglesworth/PA Wire

The survey found that nearly 40% of 16 to 24-year-olds questioned felt they were not managing their emotions very well, and 95% of the group said they thought their peers were experiencing some sort of problem with their mental health.

59% of the young people surveyed thought it was very important for their age group to have greater awareness and understanding of social and emotional skills, and 39% felt they did not manage their emotions very well.

The online poll was conducted between 18-26 September, and found almost two-thirds (65%) of the 1,817 young people quizzed said their mental health was very important to them.

At today's (Tuesday 10 October) event, the Prince and Princess of Wales campaigned to support the nation's mental health, calling for "concrete action" to help the country's next generation.

Katherine gave a speech to young people as they gathered in Birmingham, telling them the ultimate goal was to "shape fairer, safer, kinder, more equal societies."

The princess highlighted the pressures of a world where "social media and concerns about the threat of conflicts, pandemics, climate change or the cost of living" can have an impact on our emotional wellbeing.

The princess said their aim was to "shape fairer, safer, kinder, more equal societies." Credit: Kirsty Wigglesworth/PA Wire

She continued: "William and I believe we need to do all we can as a society to help young people develop the emotional and social life skills they need for good mental health, and to thrive in the world around them.

"Both learning about the world and learning about how to be happy and thrive within it, should go hand-in-hand."

William joined a public discussion forum after Katherine’s speech and told their young audience: "Really, where we are is we feel that we’ve made some progress, in that we’re all in this room talking about mental health and were chipping away at that stigma, but there’s a lot more to do.

"And I think concrete action and some sort of tangibility to come forward is the idea where we’d like to see this space go next."

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know...