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Police Commissioner says Prince Williams' visit to first responders 'significant' for their mental health


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The Duke of Cambridge offered support and advice during his trip. Source: 1 NEWS

The Duke of Cambridge's visit to first responders of the Christchurch terrorist attack was one of emotion, as he stressed the importance of taking care of themselves and their mental health.

Prince William arrived in New Zealand to honour the 50 people killed in the March 15 attack, and to show support to those first on the scene.

Police Commissioner Mike Bush told media today Prince William's visit to first responders, AOS and police and ambulance staff was "hugely significant".

Prince William arrived in Auckland to commemorate Anzac Day, before he travelled down to Christchurch.

He said Prince William told his staff: "A good friend doesn't pick up the phone when people are in need, you travel to their place and you put your arms around them."

Mr Bush said the visit today was one of support for the first responders, "to acknowledge their fantastic work, and also to check on how they are, to ensure that everyone involved in the response to this tragic event is looking after themselves, taking care of their mental health".

"There was a moment when he was with all of the first responders, engaging with them all, just telling them how important their job was but also the importance of looking after themselves into the future."

Having Prince William visit victims and responders after the terrorist attack was significant, Mr Bush said.

"The emotion was quite palpable... [staff] were quite overwhelmed."

However Mr Bush described Prince William as having "the ability to put people at a very relaxed state, so they just feel quite overwhelmed that he made the effort to come and talk to them".

"His major piece of advice was to talk to people, talk to each other, to make sure you don't bottle up the stresses that come with dealing with such tragic events. To support, each other, to talk about what you saw and what you did. Look after yourself."

"These tragic events and the impacts of them can manifest in so many different ways so it's important that we give them every support."