Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge meet Ian Russell (centre), the father of Molly Russell who was just 14 when she took her own life. Picture: Getty Images
Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge meet Ian Russell (centre), the father of Molly Russell who was just 14 when she took her own life. Picture: Getty Images

Prince William comforts dad after suicide

Kate Middleton and Prince William today met with the father of 14-year-old Molly Russell after the teen took her own life.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge spoke with Ian Russell, who has been working to raise awareness around mental health since his daughter died after viewing suicide posts on Instagram, The Sun reports.

William, who has been highly critical of tech giants in their response to online bullying and other problems, questioned whether companies like Instagram were doing enough when he and Kate met Ian Russell during the Shout messaging helpline event at Troubadour White City Theatre.

 

Undated family handout photo of Molly Russell, 14, who took her own life in November 2017. Picture: Supplied
Undated family handout photo of Molly Russell, 14, who took her own life in November 2017. Picture: Supplied

The second-in-line to the throne wrote to Mr Russell and his family earlier this year, offering his support. Molly, 14, from Harrow in northwest London, took her own life in November 2017 after viewing graphic material on self-harm and suicide.

And today, he asked Mr Russell: "Do you think companies like Instagram are doing enough?".

Putting his hand on the dad's shoulder, he added: "If we can help you in any way please let us know."

After her death, Molly's family discovered she had been "suggested" disturbing posts on Instagram and Pinterest about anxiety, depression, self-harm and suicide.

Mr Russell, who has accused Instagram of "helping to kill" his daughter because of the material she accessed, welcomed the Cambridges' support.

 

Britain's Prince William and Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge attend a volunteer celebration event with the charity Shout at the Troubadour White City Theatre in London, Tuesday Nov. 12, 2019. Picture: Yui Mok/Pool via AP
Britain's Prince William and Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge attend a volunteer celebration event with the charity Shout at the Troubadour White City Theatre in London, Tuesday Nov. 12, 2019. Picture: Yui Mok/Pool via AP

"My thoughts on Instagram are, we're grateful that they're doing something but I think they're only really inching along the road, and they need to do a lot more," he said, arguing that accessing and getting rid of harmful material was easier than the internet giant "had made out."

Molly was found dead just hours after handing in her homework - and packing a schoolbag for the next day in 2017.

Since her death, the Facebook-owned app vowed to ban graphic self-harm snaps from its site in February.

The couple today met with volunteers of Shout - hearing stories of how some would wake up at 3am to deal with the peak in need.

And they said they were staggered to see how well the mental health text line was doing after it was launched in May with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge gives a speech next to Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge as they attend Shout's Crisis Volunteer celebration event. Picture: Getty Images
Prince William, Duke of Cambridge gives a speech next to Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge as they attend Shout's Crisis Volunteer celebration event. Picture: Getty Images

Speaking to the crowd today, Prince William thanked all the volunteers for helping out, saying: "Catherine and I, and I know I speak for Harry and Meghan as well, couldn't be more proud of what Shout has accomplished and what you are still to accomplish.

"Still a relatively new charity but hitting some very big goals and some very big objectives so we really appreciate all the hard work you are doing."

Kate, 37, looked stylish in an autumnal outfit including maroon Joseph trousers paired with a black and white patterned Smythe jacket and black pumps.

The once-dubbed "Fab Four" joined together in the initiative amid speculation of a rift between the Cambridges and Sussexes.

 

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge attend Shout's Crisis Volunteer celebration event at Troubadour White City Theatre. Picture: Getty Images
Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge attend Shout's Crisis Volunteer celebration event at Troubadour White City Theatre. Picture: Getty Images

 

Prince Harry even admitted he and brother William were "on different paths" and had "good days and bad days".

The couples were seen over the weekend at their first official event together since June, attending the annual Royal British Legion Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall.

But Harry, 35, and wife Meghan, 38, were not at today's celebration for the charity's volunteers.

Instead, it was just William and Kate were greeted at the event today.

Both seemed in good spirits, beaming as they were welcomed.

 

If you or someone you know is in need help, call Lifeline on 131 114, visit www.lifeline.org.au/gethelp, or call beyondblue on 1300 224 636

 

This story first appeared in The Sun and has been republished here with permission.



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