Tuesday 23 January 2018

WATCH: Kate Middleton makes heartfelt plea to parents in new mental health campaign video

Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, sitsin the Royal box on Centre Court for the men's singles final match on the last day of the 2017 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Lawn Tennis Club in Wimbledon, southwest London, on July 16, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS /
Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, sitsin the Royal box on Centre Court for the men's singles final match on the last day of the 2017 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Lawn Tennis Club in Wimbledon, southwest London, on July 16, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS /
Britain's Prince William and Catherine, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, watch as poppies fall from the roof of Menin Gate in Ypres, Belgium for the official commemorations marking the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Passchendaele July 30, 2017. REUTERS/Andrew Matthews/Pool
Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge arrive for a visit to the German Cancer Research Institute on day 2 of their official visit to Germany on July 20, 2017 in Heidelberg, Germany. (Photo by Dominic Lipinski - Pool/Getty Images)
Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge with Prince George of Cambridge and Princess Charlotte of Cambridge as they arrive at Berlin Tegel Airport during an official visit to Poland and Germany on July 19, 2017 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Ian Vogler - Pool/Getty Images)
Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge attend The Queen's Birthday Party at the British Ambassadorial Residence during an official visit to Poland and Germany on July 19, 2017 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Chris Jackson - Pool/Getty Images)
Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, arrive at a reception at Claerchen's Ballhaus dance hall following a day in Heidelberg on the second day of the royal visit to Germany on July 20, 2017 in Berlin, Germany

Tony Jones

The Duchess of Cambridge has made her first public appearance of sorts since her pregnancy announcement - launching a national mental health campaign with a video message.

The message, recorded before last week's announcement that Kate is expecting her third child, supports an initiative that aims to equip primary school children with the confidence to talk about their feelings or listen to friends when they need a sympathetic ear.

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge arrive for a visit to the German Cancer Research Institute on day 2 of their official visit to Germany on July 20, 2017 in Heidelberg, Germany. (Photo by Dominic Lipinski - Pool/Getty Images)
Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge arrive for a visit to the German Cancer Research Institute on day 2 of their official visit to Germany on July 20, 2017 in Heidelberg, Germany. (Photo by Dominic Lipinski - Pool/Getty Images)

Kate is backing the You're Never Too Young To Talk Mental Health campaign run by the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families, which she supports as patron.

As part of the initiative, the Duchess has also written the introduction to a leaflet to help parents and carers start conversations with their children about mental health.

In the pamphlet, Kate says: "As parents, we all want our children to have the best possible start in life. Encouraging children to understand and be open about their feelings can give them the skills to cope with the ups and downs that life will throw at them as they grow up.

"It's important that our children understand that emotions are normal and that they have the confidence to ask for help if they are struggling."

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge with Prince George of Cambridge and Princess Charlotte of Cambridge as they arrive at Berlin Tegel Airport during an official visit to Poland and Germany on July 19, 2017 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Ian Vogler - Pool/Getty Images)
Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge with Prince George of Cambridge and Princess Charlotte of Cambridge as they arrive at Berlin Tegel Airport during an official visit to Poland and Germany on July 19, 2017 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Ian Vogler - Pool/Getty Images)

The Duchess' video message is an introduction to an animated film, co-produced by children and teachers, which takes youngsters through different mental health scenarios and how they can cope if they have problems.

In the footage, Kate says about the animated film: "It helps us all talk about our mental health, what to say and who to talk to when we have feelings that are too big to manage on our own, and how to listen and help if one of our friends is finding things difficult."

The Anna Freud centre is named after the pioneer of child psychoanalysis - and daughter of the famous psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud - who was instrumental in its creation.

She set up the Hampstead War Nurseries in 1941 in response to the social and emotional upheaval faced by children in wartime, and over the decades it developed into a centre of teaching and research and a major service provider.

The centre said research has shown half of all lifetime mental health problems start by the age of 14 and 20% of adolescents may experience a mental health problem in any given year.

Professor Peter Fonagy, the institution's chief executive, said: "One of the most effective things we can do is to give children the language they need to discuss mental health and encourage them to have open conversations at home and at school.

"Helping children identify problems that they or their friends are having is the first step towards resolving those problems.

"If we can help children who are struggling with their feelings or experiences, they will be happier and perform better at school."

Press Association

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