Kate Middleton Talks to Teen About Class of 2020 Struggles amid COVID: 'No Shame in Talking About It'

The Duchess of Cambridge is sharing her candid chat with a teenage girl and her mom as Mental Health Awareness Week begins in the U.K.

Shielding Mila - Hold Still
Kate Middleton. Photo: The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge/Youtube

Kate Middleton is highlighting the struggles of teens who have dealt with the disruption of school life amid COVID-19 in her latest YouTube video.

It is the first of several key interventions she and Prince William are making as they highlight Mental Health Awareness Week in the U.K.

The video is the recording of a call that took place last fall between Kate, 39, and a mother and her teen daughter who are featured in the Duchess's new book, Hold Still: A Portrait Of Our Nation in 2020 book of photographs, which captures how Britons have coped during the pandemic. The photo was taken on Romy's last day of exams before graduation, which had to take place virtually.

"I feel I know you so well just by looking at the photograph," Princess Kate told Romy. "It's so important that you mum's really highlighted how much young people have been affected by lockdown and all the disruptions that you had with work and with school and everything. How has it been for you and your friends?"

Romy told Kate that the photo was taken on what was meant to be the last day of big exams. Kate sympathized with her and the fact that she and her fellow students weren't able to celebrate in the usual way or mark the new stage of their lives.

"It's really important to tell the story of young people. And also making sure and highlighting and the support that they and you all need as well," Kate said.

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge
Kate Middleton. Neil Mockford/GC Images

Romy added, "To be honest, with mental health, it hasn't been great. People have become more open about it because it's so common now that people are struggling with it and it's natural to struggle with it in these circumstances."

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Kate, who has made mental health support a crucial part of her royal work, added, "Absolutely, because everyone s experienced something together in a way so there's no shame in talking about it. That's what we have been really keen to do, is to break that stigma, and try to start conversations around mental health. It's great to hear that people are being a lot more open about it."

Later this week, Kate and William, 38, are set to take part in a number of engagements in the West Midlands, England. Their visits will focus on local organizations that support children and young people with their mental health, in many cases using nature as a tool, according to Kensington Palace.

This year's theme of Mental Health Awareness Week is around nature and the critical role it can play in helping to improve mental wellbeing.

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On Friday, the couple will lead voices from around the world in the Mental Health Minute, a special broadcast made to more than 20 million people via 500 radio stations. The initiative will also support Shout 85258, the U.K.'s first free, confidential text support service, which William and Kate launched in May 2019 alongside Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. It provides help from clinical supervisors and trained volunteers to talk to those facing problems.

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