Prince William reveals his ‘shock’ during visit to suicide prevention charity in Belfast

The Prince of Wales has spoken of his shock after hearing that a child as young as four had considered suicide during a visit to a suicide prevention charity today.

Prince William and Kate Middleton have been told of a growing number of young people receiving support from suicide and self-harm prevention counselors during their visit to a charity in Belfast.

PIPS, which was founded in 2003, provides support for young and old with mental health issues across Northern Ireland.

The prince and princess learned that the youngest person he had helped deal with suicidal thoughts was a four-year-old girl, while the oldest was a 92-year-old man.

William expressed his surprise when he learned that someone so young had thought about ending his life.

“To have this realization at four years old to do this is really quite shocking,” he said.

The Prince of Wales has spoken of his shock after hearing that a child as young as four had considered suicide during a visit to a suicide prevention charity today

Prince William and Kate Middleton have been told of a growing number of young people receiving support from suicide and self-harm prevention counselors during their visit to a charity in Belfast.

Prince William and Kate Middleton have been told of a growing number of young people receiving support from suicide and self-harm prevention counselors during their visit to a charity in Belfast.

The Princess hailed the work of the charity as inspirational as she spoke with volunteer advisers.

“You are very inspiring,” she said.

During their visit, William and Kate took part in an art therapy session, painting pumpkins, with vulnerable children who were cared for by PIPS.

They also joined a group of volunteer advisers to pack the charity’s little boxes of hope.

During their visit, William and Kate joined a group of volunteer advisers to pack the charity's little boxes of hope.

During their visit, William and Kate joined a group of volunteer advisers to pack the charity’s little boxes of hope.

Support packages are given to children after their stay with PIPS to help them recover during the course

Support packages are given to children after their stay with PIPS to help them recover during the course

Support packages are given to children after their stay with PIPS to help them recover in class (pictured, left and right, Kate sharing a smile with a volunteer)

During their visit, William and Kate took part in an art therapy session, painting pumpkins, with vulnerable children who were cared for by PIPS

During their visit, William and Kate took part in an art therapy session, painting pumpkins, with vulnerable children who were cared for by PIPS

Mother-of-three Kate has focused on early childhood support and mental health in her royal career

Mother-of-three Kate has focused on early childhood support and mental health in her royal career

Mother-of-three Kate has focused on early childhood support and mental health in her royal career (left and right)

Support packages are given to children after their stay with PIPS to help them recover in class.

The royal couple also spent time speaking with Erin Quinn, 24, who has requested support from PIPS in the past.

Afterwards, Ms Quinn welcomed the approach of the prince and princess.

She said: “My experience today is that people actually listen.

“I was completely shocked because I didn’t know William and Kate were coming here, but all my nerves kind of calmed down when they walked in because they seemed like completely normal people.

“And they had a genuine interest in mental health and what PIPS is, what PIPS does, how does it help people.

The support packages the couple were building will be given to the children after their stay with PIPS to help them recover in class

The support packages the couple were building will be given to the children after their stay with PIPS to help them recover in class

The Prince of Wales shakes hands with Belfast County Second Lieutenant Dr Philip McGarry as he and the Princess of Wales depart after a visit to PIPS Suicide Preventio

The Prince of Wales shakes hands with Dr Philip McGarry, Second Lieutenant of County Belfast, as he and the Princess of Wales depart after a visit to PIPS Suicide Preventio

“I shared with them some of my past experience with mental health and persistent mental health issues and just felt they were really engaged, they asked me questions, they really wanted to see inside and what was going on.”

The charity’s executive director Renee Quinn (no relation to Erin Quinn) said the visit meant a lot to the charity.

“Today has been a fabulous visit, we are absolutely honored and delighted that the Prince and Princess of Wales were able to visit our charity, we are very honored that they are visiting our charity,” she said .

Renee Quinn said the prince and princess had been concerned about the growing need for support services for young people. “It was very alarming for them,” she said. “Unfortunately, that’s a trend we’ve seen, especially throughout Covid.

“We have always dealt with children, but unfortunately we see a lot of young people coming through our doors, so much so that we now have a child and young people adviser service specifically to deal with children.

“So they were fascinated to find out more about this service.”

Prince William has long advocated for increased mental health support and runs the Heads Together charity with his wife Kate.

He also openly discussed times he struggled with his own sanity, including a time he helped save the life of a seriously injured boy while working for the air ambulance and his grief after the death of his mother in 1997.

Meanwhile, mother-of-three Kate has focused on early childhood support and mental health in her royal career.

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