The Duke of Cambridge watches the Scottish Cup final with emergency responders in Edinburgh


During a week of visits in Scotland, The Duke of Cambridge joined football fans from across the Scottish emergency services, alongside their friends and family members, at the Cold Town House rooftop bar in Edinburgh to watch the Scottish Cup Final. During the match, The Duke heard from emergency responders about how they have coped during the pandemic, and passed on his gratitude for their dedication and commitment in the most challenging of circumstances.

The emergency responder community are regularly exposed to trauma and violence whilst on duty, and are often separated from their families, working long, unpredictable and antisocial hours, which in many cases can put pressure on their mental wellbeing. Many of those watching the match today have been open about the mental health challenges they have experienced, and spoke to The Duke
about how reaching out for support helped them to overcome these and inspired them to take up roles as mental health champions in order to support their colleagues and tackle stigma.

The Duke also discussed the invaluable role that friends and family of those in the emergency services play in supporting their loved ones, and the vital need to ensure that both emergency responders and their families have the confidence and means to access mental health support.

His Royal Highness  is committed to supporting the mental health and wellbeing of the emergency services community, and tackling the stigma that can act as a barrier for individuals seeking support. He witnessed first-hand the challenges that emergency responders face on a daily basis while working as both an Air Ambulance and RAF Search and Rescue pilot.

Throughout the pandemic, The Duke and Duchess, and The Royal Foundation, have worked to support those on the frontline of the national COVID-19 response, including through the provision of grants to ten leading charities at the heart of mental health and frontline support as part of a bespoke £1.8 million COVID Respond Fund. The grants built upon the work of ‘Our Frontline’, an initiative
The Duke and Duchess helped to launch in April 2020 which provides round the clock mental health and bereavement support to frontline staff and key workers.

Last year, The Duke also established the Emergency Responder Senior Leaders Board, the first of its kind in the sector, bringing together leaders from across all of the UK’s emergency services and leading charities on the issue of mental health. The Board was set up by The Duke in response to a recommendation arising from a research project commissioned by The Royal Foundation in 2018 into the mental health and wellbeing of emergency responders in the UK, and is working to promote
collaborative working to ensure that all emergency responders receive the mental health support they need.