Over the past couple years Kate Middleton and her husband Prince William, Duchess and Duke of Cambridge, have engaged in various mental health advocacy campaigns and initiatives and shown great passion for the importance of speaking up about mental health. Kate is currently helping to promote a new campaign being launched by the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families, which is a children’s mental health charity in England. Their new campaign, “You’re never too young to talk mental health” acknowledges that schools are on the frontline when it comes to children’s mental health and it aims to guide teachers on how to better support mental health in the classroom, as well as tips and guidance for caregivers on how to talk mental health with kids. They kicked off the campaign with an animation co-produced by teachers and students ages 9 to 11 called “Talking Mental Health” and it includes an introduction from The Duchess herself. The animation was designed to help start conversations about mental health in the classroom and beyond, including what to say and who to talk to if our feelings become “too big”, and how to listen or help when a friend is struggling. The short video is accompanied with free teaching materials and resources that were created by a team of animators and clinicians in addition to the children and teachers who were involved in the animation. When speaking about why she supports the campaign, The Duchess remarked,
“As parents, we all want our children to have the best possible start in life. Encouraging [them] 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.”
The campaign is being rolled out across elementary schools in the United Kingdom this fall, with the idea that reaching children at this age may help them better prepare for the transitions and challenges ahead and give them the confidence to manage them and seek help when needed. I couldn’t agree more with the idea behind this campaign as I too believe there really is no such thing as too young when it comes to talking out about mental health - we talk to kids about about colds and broken bones and all sorts of physical health related concepts, so it’s time to incorporate conversations around mental health while they’re young too.
And find out more information about the campaign here.