06/12/2016 20:04 SAST | Updated 06/12/2016 20:35 SAST

Prince William Says What We're All Thinking About Work Stress

Not taking mental health seriously can affect a company's bottom line.

Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, speaks during a briefing with business leaders to discuss the importance of workplace wellbeing, as part of the Heads Together campaign, at Unilever, in central London on December 5, 2016. / AFP / POOL / Dominic Lipinski (Photo credit should read DOMINIC LIPINSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

Prince William is giving workplace mental health the royal treatment.

The prince urged companies to recognize the importance of emotional well-being in a speech with business leaders yesterday. His efforts were part of his Heads Together initiative, a mental health campaign he launched along with the Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry earlier this year.

“Work, as we all know, can be a source of great fulfillment, growth and fun,” he said. “But also at times, a significant source of stress.”

He also emphasized how workplace stress can take a toll on a person’s overall mental health and stressed that psychological conditions should be met with the same compassion in the office as physical health.

“I’ve also seen how an employer can create an environment where it is as unremarkable to talk about feeling a bit down as it is to admit to having a cold,” he said.

The Duke of Cambridge met business leaders today to talk about ways to support employees at work when they facing tough times. He said that work can be a place of fun, but equally can be source of stress, but his experience as an air ambulance pilot has shown him that employers can make it OK to admit feeling down. The workplace mental wellbeing seminar was hosted with Heads Together to change the way we talk about mental health.

A video posted by Kensington Palace (@kensingtonroyal) on

It’s a sentiment that American workers should take seriously too. Serious mental illnesses can cost the U.S. up to $193 billion in lost earnings per year, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Depression is also one of the leading causes of disability worldwide. But many people don’t speak up about their condition ― let alone divulge it in the workplace ― due to fears of being judged or shamed. That’s why advocacy like Prince William’s is so important: It lets people know they don’t have to suffer in silence.

Mental health conditions don’t just evaporate the second a person walks through the office door. Simple as that.

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