Princess Kate says she and Prince William “wouldn’t hesitate” to seek help if little Prince George and Princess Charlotte needed support with their mental wellbeing – and she is urging other parents to overcome discomfort and nervousness in doing so.
“It doesn’t need to be like this,” Kate said on Sunday as she helped launched a series of podcasts designed to help parents understand children’s mental health. “With the right help, children have a good chance of overcoming their issues while they are still young, and can have the bright future they deserve.”
She pointed out that a third of adults “say they would be embarrassed to seek help for their child’s mental health.
“No parent would fail to call the doctor if their child developed a fever, yet some children are tackling tough times without the support that can help them because the adults in their life are scared to ask,” she said.
“Throughout my work with family and child support organizations, one thing that has stood out to me time and again is that getting early support for a child who is struggling to cope is the best possible thing we can do to help our children as they grow up.
“Knowing this, both William and I feel very strongly that we wouldn’t hesitate to get expert support for George and Charlotte if they need it.”
She was speaking out in a message of support for one of her charities, the Anna Freud Centre, which is releasing a series of podcasts – entitled Child in Mind – to help parents understand and manage child and family mental health problems. Each 20-minute episode discusses an issue in child and family mental health with an expert and a young person or parent.
This fits in with Kate’s ongoing campaign for the mental wellbeing of young people, which she has been building on for much of her public life. Alongside husband William and brother-in-law Prince Harry, she is part of the multi-pronged Heads Together initiative they launched in April to combine the talents and voices of several charities working in the area.
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Kate adds that she hopes the new podcasts will “go some way to help families overcome that fear of what happens next if they look for professional support. They illustrate that many of the therapies are actually very simple and practical steps that include the whole family to help children make sense of the world around them.
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“They show how with the right help, children have a good chance of overcoming their issues while they are still young, and can have the bright future they deserve,” she said.
“Please do listen, and share them with your friends and family and let’s change the way we all talk to each other about our mental health.”
The first episode focuses on childhood anxiety and features Professor of Developmental Clinical Psychology Cathy Creswell from the University of Reading, and Beckie, whose 10-year-old son Luke’s anxiety caused severe difficulties in her family’s life.
Peter Fonagy, Chief Executive at the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families, said in a statement, “Mental health problems in children and adolescents challenge not only the young people who experience them but also the parents who love them and care for them. Parents and carers deserve all the support there is.”