Through her charity work, Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge has been a champion of bettering the lives of young people across the globe. Now, the mom to 19-month-old Prince George is raising awareness for another important issue affecting children and teenagers: mental health.
On Saturday, the Duchess appeared in a public service announcement for Place2Be, a charity launching its first-ever Children's Mental Health Week in the U.K., running from February 16 to February 22. Kate said that she and William, the Duke of Cambridge, have seen children struggle to cope with bullying, mourning, domestic violence, and more.
With the Duchess' help, the organization—which offers emotional support for children in 235 U.K. schools—is encouraging parents to have an open dialogue with their kids about how they're feeling and ways to get treatment or support.
"The stigma around mental health means that many children do not get the help that they so badly need. This needs to change. That is why the charity Place2Be is asking us all to talk openly this week," she says in the video. "We need to help young people and their parents understand that it's not a sign of weakness to ask for help."
Not seeking help can lead to more serious problems later in life, like anxiety, depression, addiction, and self-harm, as the Duchess points out. According to Place2Be's site, depression and anxiety among teenagers has increased by 75% in the past 25 years. Even in the U.S., one in five adolescents has a diagnosable mental disorder, according to the Office of Adolescent Health.
"A child's mental health is just as important as their physical health and deserves the same quality of support," she continues. "No one would feel embarrassed about seeking help for a child if they broke their arm and we really should be equally ready to support a child coping with emotional difficulties."
Well said, Kate.