"This is a hugely challenging time for us all so please look after yourself," the Duchess of Cambridge shared
Kate Middleton message
Kate Middleton

Kate Middleton is encouraging children, and their parents, to express themselves. 

The Duchess of Cambridge recorded a special message of support to mark the start of patronage Place2Be's annual Children's Mental Health Week. This year, their theme is "Express Yourself," putting a focus on the creative ways children and adults can share their thoughts and feelings.

"This year's Children's Mental Health Week is all about expressing yourself – about finding creative ways in which to share your thoughts, ideas and feelings. So whether that's through photography, through art, through drama, through music or poetry – it's finding those things that makes you feel good about yourself." the mom of three said in her message, her first-ever selfie video, which she recorded while getting some exercise outdoors at her country home, Anmer Hall. 

"And while this is Children's Mental Health Week there has never been a more important time to talk about parental wellbeing and mental health too. Last year you told me just how important this was that many of us find it hard to prioritise," she added. 

As Kate's message came to a close, she emphasized that focusing on mental health is particularly important amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

"This is a hugely challenging time for us all so please look after yourself too," she said. "Find those ways in which to share your thoughts and your feelings or find someone to talk to because we really do need to be the very best versions of ourselves for the children in our care."

The royal mom, 39, also spoke about the challenges of parenting amid the pandemic during a candid video chat earlier this month.

"As parents, we have day-to-day elements of being a parent, but, I suppose, during lockdown we've had to take on additional roles that others in our community and lives would have helped us with," she said while speaking with a group of parents.  

"Make sure everyone looks after themselves — it's very hard to prioritize but it's definitely needed now more than ever," she added. "It's important for our children that we look after ourselves too."

RELATED VIDEO: Kate Middleton's Private World: 'She's No Pushover,' Says Friend

Last year, the royal mom launched a groundbreaking survey about early childhood. 

The U.K.-wide initiative, called the 5 Big Questions on the Under Fives, collected valuable data to help further understanding of the challenges facing children and their parents.

Can't get enough of PEOPLE's Royals coverage? Sign up for our free Royals newsletter to get the latest updates on Kate Middleton, Meghan Markle and more!

One key finding noted that loneliness was rising dramatically during the pandemic — from 38 percent to 63 percent — as parents find themselves cut off from support networks, friends and family.  

Want to get the biggest stories from PEOPLE every weekday? Subscribe to our new podcast, PEOPLE Every Day, to get the essential celebrity, entertainment and human interest news stories Monday through Friday. Get a taste of the podcast below.

"People often ask why I care so passionately about the early years. Many mistakenly believe that my interest stems from having children of my own," Kate said last year as she spoke about her public work. "While of course, I care hugely about their start in life, this ultimately sells the issue short."

"Parenthood isn't a prerequisite for understanding the importance of the early years," she added. "If we only expect people to take an interest in the early years when they have children, we are not only too late for them, we are underestimating the huge role others can play in shaping our most formative years too."