Prince William's mental health campaign was shunned by celebrities

Mental health a priority area for NZ Budget, Ardern tells World Economic Forum

During the debate he revealed not one celebrity wanted to get involved with his Heads Together mental health campaign before it started because of its subject matter.

William, who worked as an air ambulance pilot, also opened up about how a particular incident at work really shook him.

Today, the charity has had the support of such stars as Lady Gaga, Usain Bolt, Dame Judi Dench and rapper Professor Green, but William says stigma made it hard to get influential backing in 2016.

William hailed the impact of Sir David's programmes and said they had been "seen be literally billions of people world-wide" and trailed his new show Our Planet, released on Netflix in April.

William created Heads Together, an initiative to help combat the stigma of mental health, in 2017 with his wife Catherine, and brother Prince Harry.

"We all learn from our parents and how they deal with things, so a whole generation inherited this was the way you deal with problems - you don't talk about them".

"I know if I hadn't taken the action that I did then, I would have definitely gone down the slippery slope and I would have been dealing with mental illness on a different level".

Ardern agreed that while mental heath was discussed in New Zealand society, it did not reduce the stigma attached to mental health issues.

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William shared previously that when he and Kate welcomed children of their own, 5-year-old Prince George and 3-year-old Princess Charlotte (later joined by 9-month-old Prince Louis), some of his "traumatic" jobs that involved kids injured in vehicle accidents took a toll on him.

The Prime Minister praised the "groundbreaking" work done by John Kirwan on raising awareness of mental health issues.

"Yes, you put a suit of armour on... but one day something comes along closely related to your own personal life and it really takes you over a line", he said.

When Prince William asked the Davos audience whether they or anyone they knew had been through mental illness, nearly everyone raised their hand. It's had [the same] effect on a global stage as a rugby player on a domestic stage.

"One of the sad facts for New Zealand is that everyone knows someone who has taken their own life".

William is known for his advocacy on mental health issues.

And looking ahead to future work on mental health, he said he wanted to tackle the issue of male suicide.

Studies show one in four people will experience mental health problems during their lifetime.

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