PUBLISHED: 14:43, Wed, Sep 9, 2020 | UPDATED: 14:44, Wed, Sep 9, 2020
Prince William has chosen to mark Emergency Services Day, also known as 999 Day, in Belfast, thanking local first responders for their work. The Duke of Cambridge started his visit at the Police College, where he met officers and staff taking part in the Police Service of Northern Ireland’s (PSNI) Wellbeing Volunteer Training course.
This course is the first peer support programme for emergency service staff to be run by the PSNI.
During the course, Wellbeing Volunteers are trained to support colleagues suffering from mental health issues by using both shared experiences and understanding the difficulties they face on a day to day basis with their jobs.
While at the PSNI, Prince William also spoke with representatives from Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service and the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service, who opened up about their mental health.
Speaking also about his own experience as an air ambulance pilot, the Duke highlighted the need to create a culture where members of the emergency services feel safe and comfortable enough to open up on their mental health if they need to.
Prince William admitted the months ahead will likely be uncertain and scary (Image: PA)
Prince William shared his experience as air ambulance pilot during the visit (Image: PA)
In a speech he held in front of a crowd of blue light responders, Prince William said society must take care of his emergency workers - in particular after they have demonstrated their immense value during the ongoing pandemic.
He said: “This has already been an extraordinary year.
“The months ahead will no doubt be uncertain and at points scary.
“But thanks to the dedication and sacrifice of those of you working across the emergency services and in the NHS, I count myself and others in this country very fortunate.
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Prince William is marking 999 Day with emergency responders in NI (Image: PA)
“Your dedication is not only apparent when we are faced with a global pandemic.
“Each and every day, people from teams across the blue light community are called to the scenes of dreadful incidents.”
Highlighting the response of emergency services in the aftermath of the recent stabbings in Birmingham, William