Prince William and Princess Kate took part in a round table with a group of young Scots at the mental health charity See Me

By Simon Perry
Updated October 23, 2015 12:40 PM
Danny Lawson/Getty

Prince William offered heartfelt words to those struggling with mental illness on Friday as he and Princess Kate continued their visit to Dundee, Scotland, to promote mental health awareness.

Talking with a group from See Me, William expressed sorrow that stigma about the issue is still prevalent.

“It seems to me sad that society does not seem to listen enough,” William said. “All the suggestions here and all the evidence you’re giving us is very much that society doesn’t seem to listen.

“We should just stop and listen and take a note of what’s around us . . . and pay more attention. And hopefully that will help more people come forward.”

Kate, meanwhile, frequently came back to asking about what help is available for schoolchildren.

“Having you guys leading the way with the mental health piece is fantastic,” said the royal mom. “Hearing your stories and how you’ve taken the transition is fantastic.”

One medical student from Edinburgh University, Jenny Pewsey, 22, who struggles with borderline personality disorder, told the couple if it wasn’t for the intervention of a tutor she might have been thrown off her degree course.

“They were very supportive of the idea that people need to speak out more and the stigma needs to be reduced,” she said after the meeting.

And there was no doubt that the royal couple’s commitment and increasing knowledge in the field was being noticed.

Emma Hewitt, 19, who works in a co-op store, told of difficulties of talking about issues at home. The royal couple, Kate with her hands clasped in her lap, listened intently to her as she said, “It’s important to have someone to go to. You’re not looking for a cure but someone to listen and understand. That can make all the difference.”

Later she said, “They really wanted to hear from young people and not just the adults. They seem particularly interested in schools and how we are approaching mental health in schools. It’s really good when people in their position are interested and it gives a lot of hope. William is a future King and if he’s interested it will definitely help take on the stigma.”

Judith Roberts, SeeMe program director, tells PEOPLE, “They engaged, they put the young people at ease and you could see clearly that they were interested in hearing what they had to say. They were very keen to take the issue forward and then take steps to make a difference. It’s really heartening to see their interest.

“We had a conversation about the importance of listening and they really demonstrated their ability to do so.”

As they left Dundee Repertory theater, the pair were handed some gifts for their children Prince George and Princess Charlotte: a set of Roald Dahl books, including The Witches, The BFG and James and the Giant Peach.

Kate thanked Pamela Reid, finance assistant at the theater, saying, “We look forward to introducing the children to them.”

“George will love them,” added William.

Later, William and Kate took part in a workshop at The Corner, a local youth-drop-in center.

William said he was surprised to find that research across Scotland for the national anti-bullying service Respect Me found that 92 percent of bullying victims, whether online or offline, know the identity of their tormentor.

“Do you think that social media companies like Facebook and Twitter do enough to prevent bullying?” he asked.

“No,” a group of half a dozen young people replied, though the key message they gave the royal couple was that too much emphasis is placed on online bullying – 60 percent of bullying occurs offline.

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