Prince William has spoke of his “shock” after learning about a child of four had contemplating taking her own life. The Prince of Wales made his disturbing discovery after he and wife Kate, Princess of Wales – themselves parents to three young children – visited PIPS, a Belfast-based charity founded in 2003 to offer help to young and old dealing with mental health issues across Northern Ireland.
During the course of their visit, the Royal couple were told that the youngest person the charity has helped cope with suicidal thoughts was a four-year-old girl while the oldest was a 92-year-old man.
William expressed surprise when he heard that someone so young had thought about ending their life.
He said: “To have that awareness at four years old to do that is really quite shocking.”
Meanwhile Kate hailed the worked of the charity as inspirational as she talked with volunteer counsellors.
She said: “You’re very inspiring,”
During their visit, William and Kate took part in an art therapy session, painting pumpkins, with some vulnerable children who have been supported by PIPS.
READ MORE: Kate praised by royal fans for ‘perfectly’ handling heckler
She said: “My experience today was that people actually do listen.
“I was completely shocked because I didn’t know that William and Kate were coming here but all my nerves kind of subsided when they came in because they just seemed to be quite normal people.
“And they had a genuine interest in mental health and what PIPS is, what does PIPS do, how does it help people.
“I did share with them a little bit of my past experience in mental health and ongoing mental health issues and I just felt they were really engaged, they asked me questions, they wanted to really see inside and what was going on.”
Executive director of the charity Renee Quinn said the visit meant so much to the charity.
She said: “Today was a fabulous visit, we are absolutely honoured and delighted that the Prince and Princess of Wales were able to visit our charity, we’re very humbled to have them visit our charity.”
Renee Quinn said the prince and princess had been concerned to hear at the growing need for support services for younger people.
She said: “That was very alarming to them. Unfortunately, it’s a trend that we have seen, particularly throughout Covid.
“We always did deal with children clients, but unfortunately we are seeing a lot younger coming through our doors, so much so that we have now got a child and youth counsellor service specifically to deal with the children.
“So, they were fascinated to learn about that service.”
The Samaritans can be reached round the clock, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
If you need a response immediately, it’s best to call them on the phone. You can reach them by calling 116 123, by emailing email@example.com or by visiting www.samaritans.org.