The Duchess of Cambridge today guest edited The Huffington Post in support of a new campaign to get people talking about the mental health of young people. In a blog written for the news site, Kate explained that it is so important for young people and parents to realise there is nothing to be embarrassed about to open up about what is still considered a taboo.
In her blog, she wrote:
‘The mental health of our children must be seen as every bit as important as their physical health. For too long we have been embarrassed to admit when our children need emotional or psychiatric help, worried that the stigma associated with these problems would be detrimental to their futures.
Research published today by the Huffington Post indicates that around a third of parents still worry that they will look like a bad mother or father if their child has a mental health problem. Parenting is hard enough without letting prejudices stop us from asking for the help we need for ourselves and our children.
Like most parents today, William and I would not hesitate to seek help for our children if they needed it. We hope to encourage George and Charlotte to speak about their feelings, and to give them the tools and sensitivity to be supportive peers to their friends as they get older. We know there is no shame in a young child struggling with their emotions or suffering from a mental illness.
Of course, for some parents and carers seeking help is not so easy. When families are short of time or money it is not always easy to know where to look for help or advice. That is why we need schools and communities to play their full role to help children who are struggling in ways that are not always easy to see.
She added: ‘Shortly after I got married, I started working with charities helping those affected by issues such as addiction, family breakdown and vulnerable children. As was to be expected, I often heard some heart-breaking stories about lives that had been torn apart, with devastating impacts for all involved, particularly children.
What I did not expect was to see that time and time again, the issues that led people to addiction and destructive decision making seemed to almost always stem from unresolved childhood challenges. It became clear to me that many children – even those younger than five – have to deal with complex problems without the emotional resilience, language or confidence to ask for help. And it was also clear that with mental health problems still being such a taboo, many adults are often too afraid to ask for help for the children in their care.
It is time for this to change.’
To read more about the Young Minds Matter campaign, read here