Kate Middleton, The Huffington Post: Today The Duchess of Cambridge has gone digital to talk about parenting and prioritising children's mental health.
The Royals have always been keen to stay ahead of the trend when it comes to new media: Queen Elizabeth II sent her first royal email as early as 1976, and had her own website in 1997. She’s also released podcasts, has her own Instagram account (supposedly), and has even been active on Twitter (on occasion).
Today, Kate Middleton has affirmed the royal family’s fondness for digital media, taking the helm at one of the bastions of online media: The Huffington Post.
The Duchess of Cambridge has used the opportunity to launch Young Minds Matter, a series of articles exploring work around children’s mental health, and has even authored a piece which speaks about her own experiences as a parent to royal offspring George and Charlotte.
“It is such a privilege to have this opportunity to be Guest Editor of the Huffington Post today, and to celebrate the amazing work being done to improve and understand the mental health of young children,” she writes on the website.
“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.”
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The Duchess goes on to call for change, acknowledging the fact that mental illness is often overlooked.
“The mental health of our children must be seen as every bit as important as their physical health,” she writes.
“For too long we have been embarrassed to admit when our children need emotional or psychiatric help … 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.”
Writing as a parent, Middleton draws on her own experiences, and outlines why greater support must been given to working families.
“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,” she adds. “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.”
“Together, we have the chance to make a real difference for an entire generation of young children.”
The Young Minds Matter series, published today on The Huffington Post, also includes articles by a wife whose husband recently committed suicide, and adults who still struggle to overcome youth trauma, as well as research into children’s mental health.