Duchess Catherine breaks her silence with vital message for children

The Duchess of Cambridge in a still from the mental health video. Source: YouTube/Anna Freud NCCF

The Duchess of Cambridge has made her first appearance – sort of – since her third pregnancy was announced.

Catherine has been holed up since the announcement on September 4, suffering from extreme morning sickness that has forced her to cancel public engagements and even miss dropping off Prince George for his first day of school.

But a charity close to her heart, the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families, has just released a video that the 35-year-old made before her pregnancy was announced, in which she encourages children to talk about their thoughts and feelings.

“Mental health is how we feel and think, things that can’t really be seen but affect us every day,” she says in the introduction to an animation of children’s drawings.

“It helps us all talk about 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. Sometimes, it’s just a simple conversation that can make things better.”

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In a pamphlet that accompanies the video, Catherine addresses parents, saying that encouraging children to open up about their feelings helps them develop the skills to cope with life’s ups and downs. The pamphlet cites statistics showing that half of all lifetime mental health problems being at the age of 14, and that one in 10 children aged between five and 16 have a clinically diagnosable mental health problem.

Mental health is an issue close to the duchess’ heart. With Princes William and Harry, she launched the Heads Together campaign to end the stigma around mental health. The Anna Freud Centre is one of the non-profits that work with Heads Together. 

Did you teach your children to talk about their thoughts and feelings? What do you think of the duchess’ points on this issue?