The Duchess of Cambridge aims to raise awareness of children’s mental health by guest editing The Huffington Post.
The editorship, run from a temporary newsroom set up in Kensington Palace, sees the launch of the Young Minds Matter series, designed to lead the conversation with children about mental and emotional health, so youngsters feel loved, valued and understood. Throughout the day, items commissioned by the Duchess of Cambridge, including blogs and videos, will discuss the problems, causes and most importantly solutions to the stigma surrounding the UK’s mental health crisis among children. The Duchess has written a blog post to kick off proceedings, addressing the importance of the work.
“Shortly after I got married, I started working with charities helping those affected by issues such as addiction, family breakdown and vulnerable children,” she writes. “As was to be expected, I often heard some heart-breaking stories about lives that had been torn apart, with devastating impacts for all involved, particularly children.”
“What I did not expect was to see that time and time again, the issues that led people to addiction and destructive decision making seemed to almost always stem from unresolved childhood challenges. It became clear to me that many children – even those younger than five – have to deal with complex problems without the emotional resilience, language or confidence to ask for help.”
It is estimated that three children in every British classroom has a mental health problem, with symptoms of depression evident in a fifth. Despite this, research by the Huffington Post indicates that around a third of parents worry that they will look like a ‘bad parent’ if their child is found to have a mental health problem. The Duchess has called for schools and communities to help play a role in assisting struggling children, as those short of time and money often do not know where to look for help or advice.
The Duchess, who is patron of Place2Be, a charity providing in-school emotional support to children, has always been publicly open about her passion for the subject. In her blog post, she speaks of her own children and how she hopes to ensure their own mental wellbeing.
“Like most parents today, William and I would not hesitate to seek help for our children if they needed it. We hope to encourage George and Charlotte to speak about their feelings, and to give them the tools and sensitivity to be supportive peers to their friends as they get older. We know there is no shame in a young child struggling with their emotions or suffering from a mental illness.”