The Duke of Cambridge met with dads and children of all ages, along with mentors and the people they support, at a Father’s Day breakfast earlier this week to recognise the role fathers have in talking to their families about mental health.
The breakfast united the seven mental health charities involved in Heads Together, a campaign spearheaded by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry, which aims to make people feel comfortable with their everyday mental wellbeing, feel able to support their friends and families through difficult times, and ensure that stigma no longer prevents people getting help they need.
Mind volunteer Paul Scates and his father, Norman, spoke to the Duke about the Heads Together campaign, and how they support each other with their bipolar disorder.
Paul was diagnosed with bipolar disorder when he was 29 years old. Through educating himself around the condition, support from his father Norman, other family members and friends, as well as the help of different therapies, Paul now leads a successful, fulfilled life as a freelance creative events director. He also works for the Dorset Mental Health Forum delivering wellness & recovery workshops within acute psychiatric hospitals, day hospitals, prison services and more recently within varying commercial organisations. Paul also works within community mental health teams empowering and enabling people who access services to find their journey to recovery and wellbeing. He is also training to become a CBT therapist.
Norman feels very strongly about encouraging people to speak out about mental health issues. When he was growing up, no one talked about it or had an education on the subject. Norman's mother had severe mental health problems so has been aware of how this affects families from a young age. Norman and Paul now run group classes together on mental health in their hometown of Bournemouth.
Mind Chief Executive Paul Farmer said:
“We know that parents can often be a lifeline in supporting their children with a mental health problem. Equally, we know that it is perfectly possible to be a good parent while managing a mental health problem yourself.
“It was great to see the Duke of Cambridge recognise the importance of dads and father figures having the confidence to talk to children and each other about their feelings.”
See Paul and Norman talking with the Duke of Cambridge here: https://youtu.be/6R1lR2lSWbM
The full film of the Father’s Day breakfast is available to watch here: https://vimeo.com/171091499
If you’re feeling miserable, worried or alone reaching out for support from your dad, a father figure or someone else you trust can really help.
If you’re worried about your son or daughter’s mental health, or the mental health of anyone you care about then visit Mind.org.uk or call the Mind Infoline, Monday to Friday, 9am – 6pm on 0300 123 3393.