The Duchess of Cambridge Speaks Out In Support for Mental Health in Children

The Duchess of Cambridge Catherine Middleton released a video in support of the United Kingdom's first Children's Mental Health Week, in which open conversation between parents and their children about mental health is encouraged.

The Duchess of Cambridge Catherine Middleton released a PSA in association with Place2Be this week speaking on behalf of mental health issues in children. The video kicked off the United Kingdom’s first Children’s Mental Health Week, which took place Feb. 16-22.

Place2Be is a children’s mental health charity group of which The Duchess has been a royal patron since 2013. A survey of 864 parents conducted by Place2Be found that about a third of parents of children aged 5-18 years would feel embarrassed if their child wanted counseling at school. An additional 1 in 5 parents would not encourage their child to seek school counseling, even if the child asked about it. Fathers in particular felt more uncomfortable or embarrassed than mothers (38% versus 23%, respectively).

Parents who are separated were less likely to feel embarrassed about their child speaking to a counselor than parents who were married or in a civil partnership (25% versus 30%, respectively). These results prompted Place2Be to kick off the Children’s Mental Health Week and open up discussions about mental health in children to ensure they get appropriate support for their feelings.

“I have seen the benefits of offering children support for their mental health in the safety of the school environment,” the Duchess said in the video. “Both William and I sincerely believe that early action can prevent problems in childhood from turning into larger ones later in life.”

She goes on to mention that young people struggle to cope with various issues, including bullying, bereavement, domestic violence, and family breakdown, among others.

“A child’s mental health is just as important as their physical health, and deserves the same quality of support,” the Duchess continued.

The aims for Children’s Mental Health Week are to encourage parents to have open discussions with their children about their feelings and getting help. The organization believes that this can prevent what are small problems now from turning into more serious issues in children’s adult lives.

After counseling from Place2Be, 84% of parents felt their child’s problems were better, according to a statement released by the organization. Additionally, half of patients with lifetime mental health issues experience their first symptoms by age 14 years.

“As Royal patron of Place2Be, The Duchess of Cambridge is a committed champion of issues related to children’s mental health and emotional wellbeing,” a Kensington Palace representative said in a statement. “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.”