It’s the U.K.’s first Children’s Mental Health Week and the charity behind the campaign has been given a royal boost: the Duchess of Cambridge has delivered an online video address highlighting the importance of helping children cope with difficult issues that could lead to mental health difficulties in later life.
Since 2013 Kate has been royal patron of Place2Be, a charity that provides counselling services for kids in 235 schools across the U.K., as well as support for parents, teachers and school staff.
Kate, 33, reveals that she and her husband Prince William have seen firsthand how many children struggle to cope with bullying, bereavement and family breakdowns and that these issues can affect their mental health, leading to depression, anxiety, addiction and self-harm. Kate points out that the stigma around mental health means young people often don’t get the help they need and that this needs to change.
Video credit: place2be/YouTube
A Kensington Palace spokesman said: “As royal patron of Place2Be the Duchess of Cambridge is a committed champion of issues related to children’s mental health and emotional wellbeing. Her Royal Highness has seen that issues such as addiction, poverty, abuse, neglect, loss and illness of family members can have a long-lasting and traumatic impact if left unsupported. The Duchess of Cambridge is especially concerned with early intervention mental health support for young people, to tackle these issues at the earliest possible stage, so that children have the brightest possible futures, as they deserve.”
One of the aims of Children’s Mental Health Week, which runs from Feb. 16 to Feb. 22, is to help parents and children understand that asking for help is not a sign of weakness.
A survey conducted by Place2Be discovered that almost a third of parents of children between five and 18 admit that they would feel embarrassed if their child wanted counselling in school. And more than one in five of the parents would not encourage their child to have counselling in school, even if they asked for it.
“We’re thrilled to have the support of our royal patron, HRH The Duchess of Cambridge, for this important new campaign,” said Catherine Roche, chief executive of Place2Be. “By raising awareness of the benefits of getting support early for mental health issues, we hope to change attitudes and help reduce the risk of more complex and serious problems when those children reach adulthood. We’d encourage all parents and carers to take a look at the ideas and tips on our website about how to talk to children about their mental health today.”
If you need help talking to your child about mental health visit Place2Be for ideas.