Prince William and Prince George
Prince William celebrates his third Father’s Day with Prince George of CambridgeChris Jackson / Getty

As he celebrated his third Father's Day as a parent, The Duke of Cambridge advised fathers to discuss mental wellbeing with their children and families. In an article published today (19 June) in the Sunday Express, Prince William said: "Today I celebrate my third Father's Day as a father.

"For me, it is a day not just to celebrate how fortunate I am for my young family. But to reflect on just how much I've learned about fatherhood and the issues facing fathers in all walks of life.

"In particular, it is a time to reflect on my responsibility to look after not just the physical health of my two children, but to treat their mental needs as just as important a priority."

The Duke of Cambridge informed dads to perceive mental issues as seriously as they would physical complaints, warning that if left unresolved they can "alter the course of a child's life forever".

"While the circumstances of any one situation are unique, it is clear that many families could have been helped if they had found it easier to talk openly about mental health challenges in the home."

The father of George, two, and Charlotte, one, encouraged fathers who find it difficult to talk about their own feelings to do so as, "there's no wonder they struggle to speak to their son or daughter about the topic".

"But we don't really have a choice. I really believe that a child's mental health is just as important as his, or her, physical health."

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge Enjoy Skiing Holiday
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, with their children, Princess Charlotte and Prince George, enjoy a short private skiing break on March 3 in the French Alps, FranceWPA Pool / getty

William said a "generational shift" had taken place in attitudes to mental health, allowing a better understanding of dispositions that previously would go unacknowledged.

"A fifth of children will have a mental health issue by their 11th birthday. And left unresolved, those mental health issues can alter the course of a child's life forever.

"So on this Father's Day, I encourage all fathers to take a moment to ask their children how they are doing. Take the opportunity to discuss how you are coping with life and fatherhood with your wife, partner or with your friends.

"And know that if your son or daughter ever needs help, they need their father's guidance and support just as much as they need their mother's."