This morning, the Duchess of Cambridge is taking on a new high profile role as a guest editor of Huffington Post UK, transforming one of Kensington Palace’s rooms into a makeshift newsroom.
“We know there is no shame in a young child struggling with their emotions or suffering from a mental illness," the Duchess wrote as she called for the end of the "taboo" surrounding mental illness.
Prince William, 33, and Princess Kate, 34, are trying to end the stigma of mental illness, telling parents they too would want to help their own children, 2-year-old Prince George and 9-month-old Princess Charlotte, if they were suffering from mental health problems.
“Like most parents today, William and I would not hesitate to seek help for our children if they needed it,” Kate wrote in her blog for Huffington Post UK.
“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,” she continued.
Kate has made mental health for children her number one priority and this morning she introduced the Young Minds Matter initiative.
“Young Minds Matter, being launched today, is a new series where issues and work around the mental health of young children will be explored,” Kate explained in her blog.
Kate became interested in children’s mental health, describing it as the root of many problems including addiction and family breakdown later in life if children aren’t given the necessary tools to reach out to adults for help.
“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," the mum of two stressed.
“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 children in their care,” Kate continued. “It is time for this to change.”
Kate, in her role as guest editor, asked First Lady Michelle Obama to participate in the issue.
“Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Cambridge, has been a passionate voice on so many important issues, and I'm grateful that she is using her day as Guest Editor to shine a bright light on mental health, particularly children’s mental health and on the tens of millions of people who suffer in silence," Obama wrote on the site.
Mrs. Obama, who has been an advocate for those in need, echoed the concerns of the Duchess that early action is critical and getting help isn’t a sign of weakness.
“Sadly too often, the stigma around mental health prevents people who need help from seeking it. But that simply doesn’t make any sense. Whether an illness affects your heart, your arm or your brain, it's still an illness, and there shouldn’t be any distinction," Obama wrote.
Kensington Palace also announced today that Kate will take on another patronage, the Anna Freud Centre, which provides a range of clinical services working to reduce the burden of mental health difficulties with children.
Peter Fonagy, chief executive of the Anna Freud Centre, said the children’s mental health charity was honored to have Her Royal Highness as its new patron.
“I’m particularly proud because I have come to recognize just how knowledgeable she is in relation to what is a complex and difficult issue that so few people genuinely understand," Fonagy said in a statement issued by the palace.