William's public support of mental health "encouraged me to seek help," says Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby

By Phil Boucher
May 25, 2020 04:41 PM
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby
| Credit: Dominic Lipinski - WPA Pool/Getty

Prince William has helped countless people to find the help they need through his passionate support of mental health charities — and that includes the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby.

“I am deeply grateful to His Royal Highness for speaking publicly about mental health and hope it might encourage others who are suffering alone to seek help and support,” Welby wrote in a Sunday Times editorial this weekend, crediting the royal dad of three with personally assisting him.

“It encouraged me to seek help when I was struggling, help which was effective,” he wrote.

Welby, 64, has a close relationship with William and Kate Middleton, having officiated at the christenings of their children Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis.

Prince Louis christening
Kate Middleton and Archbishop Justin Welby at Prince Louis' christening in 2018
| Credit: PA Images/Sipa

He also baptized Meghan Markle into the Church of England ahead of her May 2018 wedding to Prince Harry and was present when the royal couple exchanged vows at St. George’s Chapel in front of Queen Elizabeth, Prince Charles and guests including George Clooney, Oprah Winfrey, and Elton John.

Credit: Jack Taylor/Getty Images; Chris Jackson/Getty Images

The editorial is not the only time Welby, 64, has opened up about struggling with his own mental health.

“Last year I realized I was depressed," Welby told BBC Radio 4’s Thought for the Day in October 2019. "I have a daughter who has been very open about her experiences of depression, and she helped me see that it wasn’t something to be ashamed of. It’s just life – and I got help.”

Speaking at a subsequent mental health conference at his Lambeth Palace home in London, the Archibishop revealed that he was taking antidepressants and was “on the whole managing very well." He also empathized with those who find it difficult to talk about their own struggles because of the impact it could have on their jobs.

“Depression is interpreted by many employers as someone who … is incapable of getting out of bed in the morning and isn’t able to do their job properly," he said.

On Sunday, Prince William touched on a similar theme while addressing the Church of England during an online message timed to coincide with the final day of Mental Health Awareness Week.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby stands with Prince William, Kate Middleton and Prince George following Princess Charlotte's christening.

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“I am delighted to be able to join you today and I am particularly pleased that this week’s service is focused on the importance of positive mental health and wellbeing,” William said.

“Mental health is an issue Catherine and I care passionately about, and we are determined to all we can to remove the stigma attached to it."

William went on to address how no one should worry about "burdening other people" or feel afraid to start a conversation during the coronavirus pandemic.

"The impact of coronavirus has been far-reaching, and we shouldn’t underestimate its effects on us and on those in our families and communities," he said.

"Whether people have lost or are worrying about loved ones, struggling with isolating at home, feeling anxious about job security, or working on the front line, now more than ever it is important that we talk to one another about issues we’re struggling with and it is okay to not feel okay.”

William continued, "Catherine and I have both found great comfort in the wonderful acts of kindness we have seen happening right across the nation.

"The Christian teachings of faith, hope and love could not be more appropriate as we all try to navigate our way through these uncertain times."