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The Duchess of Cambridge & Mental Health

As I’ve said in my first post, I consider Catherine’s work on mental health as her most important -as well as inspiring- contribution as a royal. While Catherine started her work as a royal patron by focusing on the arts, sports, children’s hospices and addiction, nowadays her focus has shifted towards mental health. Given the fact that mental illness is still considered to be a taboo topic, Catherine’s involvement with the cause is definitely getting people talking about this major issue.

Catherine is the royal patron of a number of charities that support mental health. For example, she is the patron of The Art Room, which works with children to increase their self-esteem, self-confidence and independence through art. In 2016, the Duchess of Cambridge became the patron of The Anna Freud Centre, a children’s mental health charity with over 60 years’ experience of caring for young minds.

The Duchess has been publicly involved in the area of mental health since she became Royal Patron of Place2Be in 2013, an organisation which works within schools to provide early support. Her Royal Highness has shed light on the charity’s work and the wider issues around children’s mental health in a number of ways, in particular by publically supporting a number of campaigns such as the Time to Mind Children’s Mental Health Campaign and Children’s Mental Health Week. In the Duchess’ own words;

Mental health is just as important as physical health.

Watch below Catherine’s first video message for Children’s mental heath week in February 2015:

Before that, in April 2013, The Duchess of Cambridge launched M-PACT Plus – a major initiative to provide support at a young age for children whose parents and families are affected by parental drug and alcohol misuse – at The Willows Primary School in Manchester.

In July 2014, The Duchess of Cambridge was joined by comedian John Bishop to a visit at the Blessed Sacrament school in Islington, London. Catherine sat in meetings with councelors and teachers to learn how the project was developing. Later, she met M-PACT Plus practitioners, supporters and members of the Blessed Sacrament School community.

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In November 2014, The Duchess attended the inaugural Place2Be Wellbeing in Schools Awards at Kensington Palace.

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During her December 2014 visit to New York, the Duchess of Cambridge drew international attention to the issue of children’s mental health with a visit to the Northside Centre. Since the visit, the Centre and Place2Be have established an ongoing link.

In September 2015, Catherine visited the Anna Freud Centre in London. During the visit, The Duchess of Cambridge learnt about the AFC’s development plan for the Campus, including its research and training programmes, which helps train over 3,000 professionals in this field each year.

In October 2015, The Duchess also drew attention to the campaign around World Mental Health Day with The Duke of Cambridge, at an event hosted by the charity Mind at London’s Harrow College. Their Royal Highnesses met young people who have battled their own mental health problems and now volunteer to raise awareness about mental health with their peers.

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In November 2015, Catherine delivered a speech at Place2Be’s Headteacher Conference in London, an event which gathered headteachers from around the UK to discuss the key issues and latest thinking on the role that schools can play in tackling mental health problems early in life.

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In December 2015, Catherine returned to the Anna Freud Centre to join the Centre’s Christmas party. The Duchess joined groups of families in festive activities designed to help pupils reflect on the positive progress they have made during the term.

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One of the greatest initiatives that Kate took alongside Prince William and Prince Harry on the topic of mental health, is the Heads Together campaign.

According to the Heads Together official website,

Heads Together aims to change the national conversation on mental health and wellbeing, and will be a partnership with inspiring charities with decades of experience in tackling stigma, raising awareness, and providing vital help for people with mental health challenges.

The campaign is supported by a number of charities, including two of the Duchess of Cambridge patronages, Place2be and The Anna Freud Centre.

Following the launch of this campaign through the above video message, The Duke and The Duchess of Cambridge, as well as Prince Harry, have participated in a number of events to promote the cause.

You can also look at their speech transcript, as well as their speeches for the occasion of the World Mental Health Day in 2016:

Catherine is very committed to promoting mental health. It seems that she has found her niche and I’m sure that her increasing involvement in this cause is going to help tremendously in normalising the subject. It’s almost 2017-mental health should really not be a taboo topic anymore.

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