Duchess of Cambridge Records Children’s Mental Health Week Message

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The Duchess of Cambridge records video message in support of Children’s Mental Health Week 2018

5 February 2018

Children’s mental health charity Place2Be launches week-long campaign encouraging children and young people to celebrate what makes them unique

HRH The Duchess of Cambridge, Royal Patron of children’s mental health charity Place2Be, has recorded a special video message to help launch Children’s Mental Health Week 2018 (5-11 February). 

The theme of this year’s campaign, which was created by Place2Be, is ‘Being Ourselves’ – encouraging children and young people to feel comfortable with who they are and celebrate what makes them unique. Low self-esteem affects more than 8 in 10 of the pupils who receive Place2Be’s one-to-one support, but when children are supported to have a positive view of themselves it can have a real impact on their confidence and can help them cope with life’s challenges.

The video message was filmed at last month’s visit to Reach Academy Feltham, where Her Royal Highness spoke to two Year 11 pupils Lauren and Sophia, Mum of two Mandy, and Principal Ed Vainker. The pupils in the video have benefited from Place2Be’s ‘whole school’ approach to mental health, which aims to create a culture of openness and confidence in understanding their emotions and feelings. Identifying potential problems early and providing support in a familiar environment without stigma and plays a huge part in their emotional wellbeing and mental health.

In the message, Her Royal Highness highlights the importance of encouraging children to feel comfortable with who they are, saying:

“Childhood is an incredibly important moment in our lives. It is the time when we explore our personalities, discover the potential that lies within us and learn how to be ourselves. Our experience of the world at this early stage helps to shape who we become as adults, how we begin to feel comfortable in our own skin.”

The Duchess also refers to the role that all adults play in helping children become the best versions of themselves:

“Some children will be facing tougher challenges than others, but I firmly believe that while we cannot change their circumstances, we can ensure that every child is given the best possible support to ensure they fulfil their true potential.  This is best achieved when we, the adults in their lives, work together to give children the emotional strength they need to face their futures and thrive.

“Whether we are school leaders, teachers, support staff or parents, we each have a role to play. When we are open and honest with each other about the challenges we face, we can work together to ensure the children in our care have the chance to become the best version of themselves.”

Catherine Roche, Chief Executive of Place2Be said: “We know from our work in schools that some children find it difficult to think of themselves positively, as it’s all too easy nowadays to compare ourselves negatively to others, especially online. 

“This Children’s Mental Health Week we are encouraging everyone, and especially children and young people, to focus on what makes them who they are, and to celebrate their unique qualities and strengths. We’ll all face difficult times in our lives, but helping children to have a positive view of themselves can help them find the inner strength and resilience to cope with those challenges.”

Ed Vainker, Principal at Reach Academy Feltham, said: “The week, and the interest and commitment of the Duchess offers an opportunity to celebrate the great work done by schools, parents and other groups around the country to support young people to become confident, resilient adults”

The Duchess of Cambridge has been Patron of Place2Be since 2013, reflecting her interest in children’s mental health and the importance of early intervention to provide children with mental health services in school, reaching children at the earliest stage possible to tackle problems before they escalate.

The video message can be watched above and has kindly been produced by BAFTA Kids for Place2Be.

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