William writes foreword for those bereaved by Armed Forces suicide

The Prince of Wales has written the foreword of a new handbook, designed to help Armed Forces veterans, family and friends affected by suicide.

The free At Your Side guides, produced by Suicide Bereavement UK but commissioned by the NHS, have been co-produced with bereaved people, to provide support for veterans, families and serving personnel of those who have taken their own lives,

His Royal Highness previously wrote a similar foreword for the London’s Air Ambulance’s booklet on bereavement.

The Prince has written a foreword on suicide bereavement. (Defence Imagery)

William opened his foreword by stating that ‘at times of national and international crisis, we look to our Armed Forces to provide help, support and stability’. He added that personnel ‘never shy away from a challenge’ and ‘it can be tempting to hide one’s own needs’.

Referring to his late mother, the Prince spoke from personal experience, stating that ‘few of us will go through our lives without experiencing the loss of someone we love’.

As a former officer himself, the Royal added: ‘Thankfully suicide is rare within the Armed Forces community, but for those bereaved by suicide, this loss can be a complex and long-term experience. Often the stigma surrounding suicide can prevent those affected from speaking out and seeking help.’

William and Catherine have supported the mental health of Armed Forces personnel. (Defence Imagery)

William hopes the ‘guide will act as a vital source of guidance and support, helping those who are impacted by suicide to process their loss, during what can be dark days of grief’.

Of course, veterans alongside mental health have been two core causes for The Prince of wales in the last decade.

After attending university, William joined the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst as an Officer Cadet. He completed his 44-week training course and was commissioned as an Army Officer in December 2006, joining the Blues and Royals as a Second Lieutenant. He was later promoted to rank of Lieutenant.

The Prince pursued a flying career and began training as a Search and Rescue pilot in early 2009. Following various skill-based training exercises and exams, Flight Lieutenant Wales, as he was known in the RAF, joined C Flight, 22 Squadron at RAF Valley in Anglesey in September 2010 as a Search and Rescue Pilot. He spent three years as a Search and Rescue Pilot and qualified as an operational Captain.

HRH said the Armed Forces ‘never shy away from a challenge’. (Defence Imagery)

In the foreword, he added: ‘There is no time limit to processing grief, but Catherine and I have met many bereaved families over the years and know the power that comes from sharing experiences, even in the most tragic of circumstances’.

The Prince concluded the foreword by expressing families are not alone – a similar conclusion to the Princess’ cancer diagnosis announcement, where she stated she was ‘thinking of all those whose lives have been affected by cancer. For everyone facing this disease, in whatever form, please do not lose faith or hope. You are not alone’.

The full ‘At Your Side’ bereavement guide can be found here.

Prince William welcomed Elizabeth II and Prince Philip to his air base. (Defence Imagery)

After duties with the Armed Forces, HRH retrained to become an Air Ambulance Pilot and worked for East Anglian Air Ambulance from March 2015 until July 2017.

Suicide Bereavement UK specialises in suicide bereavement research and the development of evidence-informed support materials for bereaved people.

The organisation said it was ‘so grateful’ to William, who has long campaigned on raising awareness of mental health, for writing his message.

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