In the video Kate says she and William want all children to get the support they need during difficult times to help them overcome challenges. The Duchess believes schools need to prioritize the mental wellbeing of their students in addition to academic success to allow every child to have a "firm foundation, for the happy, healthy future they deserve". The Duchess continued: "While we cannot always change a child's circumstances, we can give them tools to cope and thrive."
The highlight of the video for me was seeing Kate interact with a group of children from Salusbury Primary school in Queen's Park, London, who have benefited from Place2Be programmes. The Duchess asks the children: "Do you all talk to your friends about your feelings too? Sometimes there're things you probably don't feel like sharing with your friends but at least you've got an adult you can trust." A little boy asked Kate if she would have liked a Place2Be at school: "I would love to have had it. I think everyone would really benefit from having something like a Place2Be and being able to talk."
It is the third video message Kate has recorded since joining the Royal family. The first was released during Children's Hospice Week in support of East Anglia's Children's Hospices in 2013 and the second was also for Place2Be and released last year.
More from The Mirror's story:
'In the message released today, produced by BAFTA’s in-house production team, Kate says: "Every child deserves to grow up feeling confident that they won't fall at the first hurdle, that they cope with life's setbacks. This resilience - our ability to deal with stressful situations - is something we begin to learn in childhood, as we respond to each challenge and problem life presents.
Many of us are incredibly fortunate that the issues we face in childhood are ones we can cope with and learn from. But for some children, learning to cope with life's challenges can be a struggle," she continues. While we cannot always change a child's circumstances, we can give them the tools to cope, and to thrive. With early support they can learn to manage their emotions and feelings and know when to seek help.
She adds: "Through my work in areas like addiction, I have seen time and again that the roots of poor mental health in adulthood frequently stem from unresolved childhood issues. This needs to change." Kate also highlights the vital role of schools in providing emotional support, saying: "Schools are uniquely placed to provide emotional support, working with children and their families - this is something that Place2Be understands.'
Catherine Roche, Chief Executive of Place2Be said "We are hugely grateful to The Duchess for helping to remove the stigma around children’s mental health and for shining a spotlight on the value of supporting children in school from an early age.”
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The statistics provide a wealth of evidence pointing to a significant need for early mental health support:
- One in ten children aged between 5 and 16 years (three in every classroom) has a mental health problem, and many continue to have these problems into adulthood. Half of those with lifetime mental health problems first experience symptoms by the age of 14.
- Among teenagers, rates of depression and anxiety have increased by 70% in the past 25 years.
- One in five children have symptoms of depression and almost a third of 16 to 25-year-olds surveyed had thought about or attempted suicide.
- Ten years ago, detailed estimates put the cost of mental health problems in England at £77 billion, including lost productivity and the wider impacts on wellbeing. More recent estimates suggest the costs may be closer to £105 billion.
- Children are less likely to suffer from serious mental health difficulties in later life if they receive support at an early age, providing a cost saving to adult mental health services.
- Growing evidence indicates that promoting positive mental health also improves a range of positive school outcomes, including enhanced academic progress, better attendance and lower exclusion rates.
Kate became royal patron of Place2Be in April 2013 and since then has developed an increasing interest in young people's mental health and early intervention. I expect this is at least partly related to her involvement with the organisation through a number of engagements in which she has had the opportunity to meet those providing support and those benefiting from it.
In November, the Duchess attended the Place2Be headteacher conference where she gave a speech emphasising the need for early intervention: "Imagine if everyone was able to help just one child who needs to be listened to, needs to be respected, and needs to be loved – we could make such a huge difference for an entire generation." The focus on mental health will continue on 17 February when Kate welcomes a team from The Huffington Post to help raise awareness and launch a new initiative - Young Minds Matter.
If you're interested in supporting Children's Mental Health Week you can make a single donation or become a regular donor by clicking here. £7 could pay for a lunchtime drop in service while £95 could provide Place2Be's whole school services to a child for a year.
For those in the UK it's worth noting Place2Be are seeking volunteers for a range of roles including volunteer counsellors and administrative support. For those considering it, I volunteer whenever time permits with a fantastic organisation and have found it thoroughly rewarding and enriching. Seeing the level of dedication and commitment that simply goes into keeping the lights on through fundraising efforts and initiatives to provide the best service possible has been a real eye-opener concerning the struggles charities face. It's also been very inspiring and heartening to see first-hand the difference volunteering can make. It's a great way to give back to your community and hopefully helps make a difference.
I thought the video message was really very good; both interesting and engaging. It was also very professionally done and Kate appeared very confident, assured and very much at ease when talking to the children. I think it will be immensely helpful in terms of raising awareness for Children's Mental Health Week.
Readers will recognise Kate's Rebecca Taylor suit in the video. Kate first wore the jacket and skirt in April 2012 for the Scott-Amundsen Centenary Race to the South Pole and more recently in New Zealand in 2014. The suit is from the designer's Pre-Fall 2012/2013 Collection. Both pieces are crafted in heavily textured melange weft. The jacket features frayed trim and sequin floral embellishment at the neck.
Kate accessorised with her sapphire and diamond earrings.
If you're just joining us today, a reminder the Duchess carried out her first engagement of the year with a service and reception for the RAF Air Cadets. Click here to view the post! After the engagement, Kate was seen by several onlookers boarding a helicopter from Kensington Palace to Anmer Hall.
Ashley quickly identified Kate's coat as the Mulberry Paddington Coat. The £990 coat is described as ""Mulberry's 'Paddington' coat is designed in a fresh sky-blue hue for fall. Classically tailored, this slightly loose style has been cut in Italy from a luxurious wool-blend with a tactile touch of mohair." The coat is from the A/W 2015 Collection and sold out. Kate appears to be carrying her Tusting Explorer Bag.
We've updated our George & Charlotte and Repli-Kate pages in recent days for those interested :)