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‘Work-shy’ William and Kate get back to the day job: Royal pair visit mental health centre after returning from secret ski break with their children

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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were back at work today after facing criticism for jetting off on a secret luxury ski break to the French Alps last weekend.

William and Kate arrived at St Thomas Hospital, in London, this morning to visit mental health patients and campaigners to highlight suicide prevention.

Kate, 34, recycled a distinctive bright green Erdem coat previously worn on the royal tour of New Zealand in April 2014 and at the launch of the Tour de France in Yorkshire in July 2014. William looked causal in chinos.

 The Duchess of Cambridge arrived for at London's St Thomas Hospital with Prince William this morning to meet a mental health campaigner and the man who saved him from taking his own life, as they champion efforts to prevent suicide

The pair have been promoting awareness of mental health issues for some time.

But they have faced mounting pressure over claims that they are ‘part time’ royals who carry out far few engagements then the Queen and Prince Philip.

Later the couple moved on to Kensington Palace where they dropped in on a screening of a documentary about Jonny's experience and the #FindMike campaign. Jonny was saved from suicide when a passing stranger intervened, and years later he launched a campaign to find him which became a viral sensation

Since the start of the year he has also carried out just four royal engagements, even though his pilot’s schedule is said to allow time for his official duties and charitable work. Kate has carried out four engagements since January, making today’s visit the fifth of the year so far for both royals.

At this morning’s engagement, the couple met with Jonny Benjamin who started the #FindMike search in 2014 to find the unknown passer-by who stopped him as he attempted to jump off a bridge in central London six years earlier.

Mr Benjamin, then 20, had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and said he felt his life had hit ‘rock bottom’ before the kindly intervention of a stranger.

The man who helped him was later identified as former personal trainer Neil Laybourn when the search went viral.

 

The royal couple chatted to the two men at London’s St Thomas’ Hospital where Mr Benjamin was treated after he threatened to take his own life.

The FindMike canpaign became a global phenomenon – supported by dozens of high profile names including Stephen Fry, Boy George and Prime Minister David Cameron

A documentary has been made about his experiences and the campaign. Finding Mike: The Stranger on the Bridge, an award-winning documentary which aired on Channel 4 last year, captured the pair’s meeting.

Mr Benjamin now regularly attends screenings of the film with young people as a way to encourage open discussions about mental health issues. He has also launched a campaign to raise awareness of mental health and suicide.

At the end of a half-hour meeting at St Thomas’ Hospital, where Jonny was sectioned after being rescued on the bridge, the future King and Queen made a declaration of their own intent.

William, who has been called out to several suicide attempts in his part-time job as an air ambulance pilot, wants to focus on getting better care for young men with suicidal thoughts as part of a joint crusade on mental health by him, Kate, and Prince Harry.

He said: ‘Someone told me five people a day try to kill themselves. I was just blown away by the‎ statistics.’

Sitting beside Kate on a sofa talking to Jonny and Neil‎, 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.

 Kate meets Jonny Benjamin (centre) who started the #FindMike search in 2014 to find the unknown passer-by who stopped him as he attempted to jump off a bridge in central London six years earlier. The man who helped him was later identified as former personal trainer Neil Laybourn (right) when the search went viral

The couple discussed issues surrounding suicide with campaigner Jonny Benjamin who believes that he may not have reached crisis point if he'd received help for his mental health challenges earlier in life

 

 

 

Mailonline

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