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Prince William and Duchess Kate returned from their beautiful, snow-filled family holiday in the French Alps — and got down to business. Serious business. In the royal couple’s first joint charity appearance of the year, they are in London to knock out several engagements all in one day. Their commitment to raising awareness of mental health issues continued at their first stop: St. Thomas’ Hospital where they met with suicide survivor Jonny Benjamin, and Neil Laybourn, the man who helped save his life.

In 2008, Benjamin was ready to take his own life by jumping off a bridge when Laybourn came upon him and talked him down. Jonny didn’t know who Neil was and wasn’t able to personally thank him for saving his life so he launched a campaign in 2014 to find him and now the two are good friends.

Benjamin is patron of Rethink Mental Illness and made a documentary, The Stranger on the Bridge, about his experiences. The film was screened for a group of schoolchildren, and was followed by a discussion about how important it is to talk about well-being.

Will and Kate listened as one girl talked about her struggle with autistic spectrum disorder.

“I didn’t really acknowledge the impact until I was 8 when I started to suffer from extremely bullying,” she said. “I felt like I couldn’t talk to anyone about it. Then a teacher came up to me – it was my ‘Neil’ moment – who told me I shouldn’t feel embarrassed.”

William and Kate nodded enthusiastically as Jonny told her, “No, no, you shouldn’t.”

Before leaving to speak with bereaved families nearby, William, who is said to have been called out to suicide cases involving young men through his work with the East Anglian Air Ambulance, spoke to the kids about how important it is to communicate.

“If I may add anything to the expertise of what Neil and everyone else here has been talking about, that is the importance of talking to each other,” he said. “I really feel that we don’t listen and we don’t talk enough so I hope that if anything you take away from today is to talk amongst yourselves, to share your problems and communicate and be there for each other.”

It’s clear that Will and Kate were quite moved by the day. “Someone told me five people a day try to kill themselves,” said William, during his and Kate’s meeting with Jonny and Neil. “I was just blown away by the statistics.”

He added: “For both of us, the mental health piece has got lots of aspects. It’s such a big issue that we need to do something about it. We feel it’s been raised higher up the ladder. It’s suddenly bubbling just under the surface. Now we need to get up to the next level, to the surface.”

Kate, whose focus is on mental health issues in children, stressed that childhood problems were the root cause of many afflictions adults face. “We see through the work that we do with addiction, homelessness and knife crime that a lot of it stems back to childhood.”

Understanding and preventing suicide seems like the logical next step, and Benjamin is pleased that the Cambridges are raising awareness of it. Suicide “is an area people don’t like to discuss [so] having their support will bring that message to an even wider audience.

“If people like Kate and William can address these issues, the less people will have to hide and the more open and unashamed they will be.”