Duchess of Cambridge Attends Launch of Maternal Mental Health Films

Duchess of Cambridge Attends Launch of Maternal Mental Health Films
The Duchess of Cambridge during a meeting with a parent support group at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists in London where she launched maternal mental health films aimed at helping new parents cope with depression and other mental health issues.

The Duchess of Cambridge Attends Launch of Maternal Mental Health Films Ahead of Mother’s Day with Best Beginnings and Heads Together

Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, London

Thursday 23rd March, 2017

The Duchess of Cambridge has attended the launch of a series of educational films created by Best Beginnings, a Charity Partner of the Heads Together campaign, to raise awareness of maternal mental health challenges and start conversations about the wellbeing of parents and their children.

The Duchess spoke about the importance of maternal mental health at the launch of the ‘Out of the Blue’ film series, which was attended by health campaigners, academics and professionals and tok place at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, just a few days before Mother’s Day.

As part of the Heads Together campaign, which she leads with The Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry, The Duchess of Cambridge watched one of Best Beginnings films and heard a speech from their Chief Executive Alison Baum, before saying a few words and introducing Jessica and Jon, a couple who shared the conversation that helped them through post-natal depression.

The Duchess then joined a parent support group similar to those featured in the ‘Out of the Blue’ series, to talk with mums and dads about how becoming a parent affected their mental health and how open and honest conversations with family, friends or other trusted people helped them get through the tough times.

The event took place exactly one month before the Virgin Money 2017 London Marathon, for which Heads Together is the Official Charity of the Year and is hoping to make it a ‘mental health marathon’.

The ‘Out of the Blue’ film series was created by Best Beginnings to promote mental health for parents and their children. The series explores a range of mental health conditions from low mood and anxiety to more severe forms of depression through stories told by real mothers across the country. The films are also aimed to help fathers, and the wider circle of family and friends to better understand mental health issues and show how to support mothers more effectively. ‘Out of the Blue’ speaks to partners across the country to help them understand how to manage the lows and how to talk about their own mental health when facing the impact of the enormous life change of becoming parent for the first or subsequent times.

You can find out more by clicking here.

A speech by The Duchess of Cambridge at the Best Beginnings
“Out of the Blue” film series launch

Before I begin, I know you would all want to join me in sending our thoughts and prayers to all those sadly affected by yesterday’s terrible attack in Westminster.  We will be thinking of all the families, as we discuss the important issues we’re here to talk about.

I would like to thank Best Beginnings for inviting me here to introduce the ‘Out of The Blue’ series.  This collection of films highlights how vital it is to be open about our mental health especially in the early years of parenthood.

Personally, becoming a mother has been such a rewarding and wonderful experience.  However, at times it has also been a huge challenge- even for me who has support at home that most mothers do not.

Nothing can really prepare you for you the sheer overwhelming experience of what it means to become a mother.  It is full of complex emotions of joy, exhaustion, love, and worry, all mixed together.  Your fundamental identity changes overnight.  You go from thinking of yourself as primarily an individual, to suddenly being a mother, first and foremost.

And yet there is no rule book, no right or wrong – you just have to make it up and do the very best you can to care for your family.  For many mothers, myself included, this can, at times lead to lack of confidence and feelings of ignorance.

Sadly, for some mothers, this experience can be made so much harder due to challenges with their own mental health.  Two in ten women will suffer mental health issues that can occur during pregnancy and in the year after birth, often clouding their moments of joy with a real sense of darkness and isolation.  Many of these women also suffer in silence, overwhelmed by negative feelings, but also afraid to admit to the struggles they are facing due to the fear or shame of what others might think if they “aren’t coping”.

Some of this fear is about the pressure to be a perfect parent; pretending we’re all coping perfectly and loving every minute of it.  It’s right to talk about motherhood as a wonderful thing, but we also need to talk about its stresses and strains.  It’s ok not to find it easy.  Asking for help should not be seen as a sign of weakness.

If any of us caught a fever during pregnancy, we would seek advice and support from a doctor.  Getting help with our mental health is no different – our children need us to look after ourselves and get the support we need.

Conversations are crucial for mental wellbeing and they should be part of everyday family life.  Talking about a problem with a friend or another trusted person can be the beginning of getting better.

This week, as we look forward to Mother’s Day, I would love to see everyone celebrate and value the fundamental importance that mothers play in family life.

Mothers take on an overwhelming responsibility of caring for their families.  Their role is vital in providing unconditional love, care, and support at home, particularly in the early years of a child’s development. We therefore should do everything we can to support and value their hard work.

The work of Best Beginnings is vital.  By providing tools and resources to help parents establish their own confidence and their own self-awareness, Best Beginnings enables mothers and fathers to do the best they can for their families.

The Out of the Blue films you are about to see are also an amazing example to all parents, that starting conversations and asking for support is a real source of strength.  They have been created with real parents, talking honestly and openly about their own experiences of parenthood.

I am now delighted to introduce two brave parents who have contributed to the films, Jessica and John Warne.

Thank you.

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