Prince William & Kate Middleton Stress Importance of Mental Health amid 'Unsettling' Coronavirus Outbreak

Maria Pasquini

Prince William and Kate Middleton are standing behind new advice designed to help people take care of their mental health during the current global health crisis.

The Department of Health and Social Care has announced the details of new Public Health England guidance, which offers advice on how to look after your own wellbeing, as well as providing helpful tips on how to look after children amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“The last few weeks have been anxious and unsettling for everyone. We have to take time to support each other and find ways to look after our mental health,” the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, who have long been advocates for mental health, said in a statement.

“It is great to see the mental health sector working together with the NHS to help people keep on top of their mental well-being. By pulling together and taking simple steps each day, we can all be better prepared for the times ahead,” they added.

Some of the guidance includes encouraging people to maintain digital contact with loved ones, learn new hobbies, and follow regular routines and sleep schedules.

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Earlier this month, both William and Kate also spoke with leaders in the mental health sector over the phone. William had a call with Paul Farmer, CEO of Mind, while Kate spoke to Catherine Roche, CEO of Place2Be. (Both Mind and Place2be are charities included in the royal couple’s Heads Together campaign.)

Additionally, the pair visited an emergency call center to show support for emergency workers who are helping to keep people well-informed about the illness as it continues to spread.

Public Health England has also updated its Every Mind Matters platform — which William and Kate helped launch last year, with new advice — and the government has announced a £5 million grant to fund additional mental health services, which will be administered by Mind.

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“We are facing one of the toughest ever times for our mental wellbeing as a nation. It is absolutely vital that people pull together and do all they can to look after themselves and their loved ones, when we are all facing a huge amount of change and uncertainty,” said Farmer. “Reaching out to friends and family is critical, as well as paying attention to the impact our physical health can have on our mental health – from diet and exercise to getting enough natural light and a little fresh air.“

Farmer added, “Charities like Mind have a role to play in helping people cope not only with the initial emergency but coming to terms with how this will affect us well into the future. Whether we have an existing mental health problem or not, we are all going to need extra help to deal with the consequences of this unprecedented set of circumstances.”

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William, whose father Prince Charles tested positive for coronavirus, has previously been vocal about the need for the U.K. to band together amid the outbreak of the virus.

“Whenever and wherever adversity strikes, the people of the U.K. have a unique ability to pull together,” William said in a personal video message. “The way that local communities support those affected shows the very best of our values and human nature.”

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments and visit our coronavirus hub.