The Duchess of Cambridge has been named patron of the Maternal Mental Health Alliance, saying: "It's down to each and every one of us to support parents and carers." In a video message, Kate said she was "extremely proud" to take on her new role, adding that "no one is immune to experiencing anxiety and depression" while raising young children.
She said: "The birth of a child is one of life's greatest gifts. But it can also be one of the most challenging times for many families and one that should not be faced alone."
The future Queen has made early childhood development the cornerstone of her public work and her new patronage was revealed during Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week, which this year focuses on the importance of connection.
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Kate said: "The past couple of years have reminded us just how much we need each other and how vital our relationships are to our long-term health and happiness. This starts in the very earliest years of our lives, when we need close and continuous care from the people around us to nurture our development and ensure that we get the right start in life.
"But we all know that pregnancy, childbirth and the first months and years of a child's life can be hugely demanding. Parents often feel lonely and overwhelmed by these early years."
The Duchess said that around 20 per cent of women in the UK reported experiencing perinatal mental illness, adding: "Sadly, we also know that many more are suffering in silence.
"The birth of a child is one of life's greatest gifts," Kate said in the video
"No one is immune to experiencing anxiety and depression during this time. It is crucial, therefore, that all those who might be struggling are given the right support at the right time, so that they're able to share these feelings without fear of judgement and can access the information, care and support they need to recover."
The Maternal Mental Health Alliance is a UK-wide charity bringing together more than 100 organisations to ensure women and families facing perinatal mental health challenges get the right care and support.
The Duchess said: "There is plenty more to be done. And it's down to each and every one of us to support parents and carers, and all those who are raising children today. Because by ensuring that the next generation of children can thrive, we can help to build a stronger, healthier and more nurturing society which benefits us all."
The Alliance's chairman, Luciana Berger, said: "The Duchess' longstanding dedication to the Early Years and keen interest in mental health marry beautifully with the Alliance's mission to ensure every mum, baby and family affected by perinatal mental health problems can access the right care and support necessary. We look forward to working with The Duchess to make this goal a reality for all."
Last year, Kate set up The Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood to raise awareness of work on the early years in order to transform society for generations to come.
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