Kate in plea for early intervention

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Published: Monday 16th February 2015 by The News Editor

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The Duchess of Cambridge has spoken of the importance of preventing children’s problems becoming worse as they get older in a video message she has recorded to support the UK’s first Children’s Mental Health Week.

In the message, Kate says that both she and her husband, the Duke of Cambridge, have seen that many children are struggling to cope with bullying, bereavement, family breakdown and other issues, which can often lead to depression, anxiety, addiction and self-harm.

She adds that stigma around mental health means that many children do not get the help they so badly need, and this needs to change.

The Duchess makes the comments in an online video for Place2Be, which provides emotional help and support in schools.

“Through Place2Be I have seen the benefits of offering children support for their mental health in the safety of the school environment,” says Kate, who has been royal patron of the charity since 2013.

“Both William and I sincerely believe that early action can prevent problems in childhood from turning into larger ones later in life.”

The video message can be watched at www.place2be.org.uk/childrensmhw which also features tips and guidance for parents on children’s mental health issues.

It was recorded at Bethlem and Maudsley Hospital School in Beckenham, south London, to launch a week-long campaign by the charity.

Place2Be has also conducted a survey, which found that almost a third (30%) of parents of children aged between five and 18 admit they would feel embarrassed if their child wanted counselling in school, while more than one in five parents (22%) would not encourage their child to take up counselling in school, even if they asked for it.

The charity aims to encourage parents to talk openly with their children about their feelings and help them to get any appropriate support.

The poll also found that fathers were more likely to say they would feel embarrassed (38% compared to 23% of mothers).

A Kensington Palace spokesman said: “As royal patron of Place2Be the Duchess of Cambridge is a committed champion of issues related to children’s mental health and emotional wellbeing.

“Her Royal Highness has seen that issues such as addiction, poverty, abuse, neglect, loss and illness of family members, can have a long-lasting and traumatic impact if left unsupported.

“The Duchess of Cambridge is especially concerned with early intervention mental health support for young people, to tackle these issues at the earliest possible stage, so that children have the brightest possible futures, as they deserve.”

Catherine Roche, chief executive of Place2Be, said: “We’re thrilled to have the support of our royal patron, HRH The Duchess of Cambridge, for this important new campaign. By raising awareness of the benefits of getting support early for mental health issues, we hope to change attitudes and help reduce the risk of more complex and serious problems when those children reach adulthood.

“We’d encourage all parents and carers to take a look at the ideas and tips on our website about how to talk to children about their mental health today.”

Published: Monday 16th February 2015 by The News Editor

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