The Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, has penned an article for The Huffington Post UK to kick off their Young Minds Matter campaign in which she discusses the campaign and how she and Prince William want to encourage Prince George and Princess Charlotte to talk about their feelings.
I’m breaking up my coverage of today’s events into multiple articles, this one here is just about Kate’s HuffPo article. I will cover everything else, including info on the above photo, later.
In the interest of space, I’m not quoting the whole article (I trimmed out a greeting and a paragraph about other stories people wrote for the campaign). Kate wrote:
“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. […]
“The mental health of our children must be seen as every bit as important as their physical health. For too long we have been embarrassed to admit when our children need emotional or psychiatric help, worried that the stigma associated with these problems would be detrimental to their futures. Research published today by the Huffington Post indicates that 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. Parenting is hard enough without letting prejudices stop us from asking for the help we need for ourselves and our children.
“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. 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. […]
“I am so grateful to all those who have participated in this series and to all those who will contribute after today. I am also hugely grateful to all of you who will take the time to read, to watch, and to listen to these stories. Together, we have the chance to make a real difference for an entire generation of young children.”
I was expecting to do a whole big breakdown of what Kate wrote, but honestly, I don’t have much to say. Kate didn’t say much in depth about anything so I don’t have a strong opinion on her article – whereas I read another article from the Young Minds Matter series which I had a very strong reaction to which I may or may not rant about later.
The only thing I can really say is that I still have no idea why Kate decided to support children’s mental health. I was hoping she would go in depth about why she chose this cause to support, and she didn’t. Just because one hears stories and realizes that problems in adulthood often stem from problems in childhood doesn’t mean one would be driven to care and champion children’s mental health.
Maybe that really is the only reason Kate has/needed to care enough about the cause in order to support it, but it doesn’t seem like enough for me (because why this cause and not all the other causes she hears about?) and doesn’t explain why Kate chose 2015 to start supporting it. She was “working with charities helping those affected by addiction, family breakdown and vulnerable children” back in 2012/2013 and didn’t really start caring about children’s mental health until fall 2015. That seems like a long time between seeing that adult problems stem from childhood issues and taking action to support children’s mental health.
But that’s just me. I have suffered from depression for a very long time; the mental health cause is one I have a very emotional tie with, but maybe Kate doesn’t. Maybe Kate doesn’t need an emotional connection to support this cause. But as someone who suffers from depression, which started when I was about 7 (so yes, my adulthood problems stem from childhood), I just can’t connect to a champion of children’s mental health who doesn’t give me anything to connect to (emotionally or intellectually). It’s a bummer, but that’s all I can say at this time.
I’ll have more coverage of Kate’s guest editor stint later.
Here’s something I can say that’s positive: At least Kate wrote (“wrote”?) something. This article is more than Kate has done for any of her charities (aside from her little video messages) before, so that’s good.