The Duchess of Cambridge, née Kate Middleton, has called on fellow parents to encourage them to speak openly with their children, who may be suffering from mental health issues. Kate brought the issue up in support of Children's Mental Health Week, which starts on Monday.
The Duchess, who is expecting her second baby with Prince William, recorded a special video for charity Place2Be, of which she is a royal patron.
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"Through Place2Be I have seen the benefits of offering children support for their mental health in the safety of the school environment," said Kate, reaching out to members of the public.
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The Duchess voiced concerns for children suffering with mental health issues
She added: "Both William and I sincerely believe that early action can prevent problems in childhood from turning into larger ones later in life."
In her speech, Kate said that both she and William had witnessed children struggling to cope with the impact of issues such as bullying, bereavement, family breakdown and more, which for some young people can lead to depression anxiety, addiction and self-harm if they don't get appropriate support.
The royal added that more help and support needed to be given towards children who have problems, and the social stigma around mental health be lifted.
Duchess Kate has been a royal patron of Place2Be since 2013
Kate recorded the video at the Bethlem and Maudsley Hospital School in Beckenham during a private visit earlier this month. The Duchess took part in a ukulele lesson with the children – some of whom are patients with long-term illnesses – and according to the school's headteacher Dr John Ivens, had a brilliant ability to connect with the youngsters.
"The Duchess is very good at listening to what people are saying to her, especially children, and responding in a thoughtful way," said Dr Ivens. "Clearly it was very important for her to understand how young people get to a situation that they need to be an in-patient at such a young age."
Place2Be holds a special place in Kate's heart, as the charity is the leading UK provider of school-based mental health support.
She has been a patron since 2013, reflecting her interest in child mental health and the importance of early intervention to tackle problems before they escalate, a Kensington Palace spokesperson said. Last year William and Kate attended Place2Be's annual conference at The Royal Society of Medicine, to hear from experts discussing early intervention – a subject of interest to them both.