The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have called on the nation to “lift someone out of loneliness” with small acts of kindness, in a special radio broadcast for Mental Health Awareness Week.
William and Kate took to the airwaves of more than 500 stations across the country to speak to an estimated 20 million listeners in the 60-second message for this year’s Mental Health Minute.
The couple, who have long campaigned on mental health issues, urged the public to make a difference, with Kate saying: “If you think someone you know might be feeling lonely, just give them a ring, send them a text or knock on the door.”
William added “Maybe suggest meeting for a coffee or a walk”, as Kate continued: “Because these small acts of kindness can make a big difference and help us all feel less lonely.”
The pair apologised for interrupting all of the UK’s radio stations which united to play the message simultaneously at 10.59am on Friday.
But Kate added: “If we interrupt the lives of those who are feeling alone…”
“We can help lift them out of loneliness,” the duke continued.
William noted “We’re all in different places right now”, with the duchess saying “Not just physically but mentally”.
The duke then added “And we can all feel lonely sometimes”, with Kate commenting: “No matter who – or where – we are.”
William said the past two years of the pandemic have reminded people of the importance of human relationships.
New research coinciding with the message showed that more than one in 10 young people (11%) feel lonely often or always, making them the loneliest of all age groups, according to Community Life Survey data.
A YouGov poll also found that 18 to 24-year-olds are also the least comfortable asking for help, with six out of 10 (59%) saying they would not feel comfortable doing so if they feel lonely.
Nearly seven out of 10 (67%) in the same age group feel loneliness is not taken seriously by society, but 71% also feel comfortable helping someone else to overcome loneliness.
The 2022 Minute, created by Radiocentre, the industry body for commercial radio in the UK, and The Royal Foundation, is in support of Better Health – Every Mind Matters, which offers advice to tackle loneliness and provides NHS-approved tips to help people look after their mental wellbeing.
Nigel Huddleston, minister for civil society and youth at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, said: “The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are great champions of mental health awareness and we’re hugely grateful to have their support through the Mental Health Minute.
“We know loneliness is having a disproportionate impact on our young people and this campaign offers easy to use guidance people can follow to improve their wellbeing.”
William and Kate have been involved in the Mental Health Minute for five years, but this is the first time the couple have been the sole speakers.
Previous participants have included Lady Gaga and Dame Judi Dench.
The duke and duchess were pictured sitting on a sofa as they recorded their message, with William’s script resting on an Earthshot book in front of them and Kate’s on her Hold Still pandemic photography book.
There was also the Our Planet: The One Place We All Call Home children’s book which accompanied Sir David Attenborough’s Netflix documentary series.
Behind the couple was a family photo of the them with their three children, which was released as their Christmas card picture in 2020.