Kate Middleton and Prince William kicked off Children’s Mental Health Week 2017 by visiting a Place2Be school today, February 6. The event was in association with Heads Together.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were at Mitchell Brook Primary School for Place2Be’s The Big Assembly, which kicked off this year’s Children’s Mental Health Week. The theme of this year’s CMHW is “spread a little kindness”.
Place2Be did a survey of 705 children aged 10-12 (99% were aged 10-11) from 20 primary schools who work with Place2Be in England, Scotland, and Wales and found that almost two thirds (63%) worry “all the time” about at least one thing to do with their school life, home life, or themselves. The children’s top concerns were their family, friends being okay, and not doing well at school.
When asked what adults should do to help, over 80% of the children surveyed said that “being kind” and “listening” are very important. The students also believed that it is very important that children are kind to each other. If a classmate was worried about something, they said they would ask them how they are, try to cheer them up, and listen to them.
You can read more of the survey’s findings here (Note: the link downloads a PDF). For all the talk about bullying and body image being big problems for children, I’m surprised that “Being Bullied” and “The way I look” were so low on the list of “Issues that cause children to worry ‘all the time’ or ‘a lot'”.
William and Kate arrived at the school and were greeted outside by lots of children. The couple then moved inside to the assembly where Kate gave a speech.
- “Thank you so much for your very warm welcome. It is great to be here to support Children’s Mental Health week. People often ask me why I am so interested in the mental health of children and young people. The answer is quite simple – it is because I think that every child should have the best possible start in life.
- “When I was growing up I was very lucky. My family was the most important thing to me. They provided me with somewhere safe to grow and learn, and I know I was fortunate not to have been confronted by serious adversity at a young age.
- “For some children, maybe there are some here today; I know that life can sometimes feel difficult and full of challenges. I think that every child should have people around them to show them love, and to show them kindness, and nurture them as they grow. This is what Place2Be is doing so amazingly here in your school.
- “Recently I met an 11 year-old girl who was helped by Place2Be. She told me that if you keep your feelings inside, you can feel as though you will blow up like a balloon. But, by talking to someone about them, it can make you feel so much better. I thought that was such a clever way of looking at it. If we are worried, upset, lonely or angry – the best thing to do is to talk to someone about it. Whether that is your mother or father, a teacher or a friend.
- “I know that in your school you have been working on a project to spread a little kindness and I think this is such an important thing to do. If you see someone who you think might need help, try and be kind to them. Keep a look out for them if they are on their own or seem sad or worried. Perhaps they just need a hug or someone to talk to. I know it is hard if you are feeling down yourself. But helping someone out will also make you feel so much better too.
- “My parents taught me about the importance of qualities like kindness, respect, and honesty, and I realise how central, values like these have been to me throughout my life. That is why William and I want to teach our little children, George and Charlotte just how important these things are as they grow up. In my view it is just as important as excelling at maths or sport.
- “Now, I am very excited about presenting the Kindness cup and hearing your stories. Do remember that even if you don’t win today, the fact that you are helping make your school such a supportive and friendly place is so important. You should all be very proud of yourselves and each other. Thank you so much for having me here with you all today”
First things first, I want to say that I am super happy that Kate gave a speech. I love it whenever she gives a speech, but especially when doing a joint engagement with William, because usually when doing joint engagements with William she takes a backseat and doesn’t say anything even when it’s for her Patronage. So I’m just happy that she was the one to give a speech today.
I’m also glad that the speech was a good length and not only a few sentences. And I like that she brought up people she has met previously.
However, I still don’t like the way Kate equates having a good family life to not suffering from mental health issues. It shows a lack of understanding of mental health issues, and is dated and dangerous. Unfortunately, that line of thinking does still exist with some people (I knew a young guy about five years ago who thought refrigerator mothers were the cause of autism even though that theory was debunked ages ago) – it is part of the stigma around mental health issues that the royal trio and Heads Together are supposedly trying to change. Kate is actually perpetuating part of the stigma here.
After Kate gave her speech, some of the children from Mitchell Brook Primary got on stage and shared their stories. Then Kate presented the “Kindness Cup” to Nadia Dhicis, 10, for showing exceptional kindness in her community.
Finally, William and Kate joined a group discussion with children from the school about how kindness can help people through difficult times. The couple stayed at the event for about 1 hour before leaving.
Kate went Full Repeat today, opting for her much-worn Luisa Spagnoli red suit, her Mulberry Bayswater Clutch in black suede, her Gianvito Rossi pumps in black suede, her Mappin and Webb Empress White Gold and Diamond Drop earrings, and her Cartier watch.
I’ve never really been a fan of this suit, but Kate must love it because she’s worn it four times now: in 2011 to a visit to St. Andrews; in 2014 in Christchurch, New Zealand; in 2015 for Christmas lunch at BP; and today.
Here is a video of the event with part of Kate’s speech. They don’t show the whole speech, annoyingly, they only show a couple paragraphs of it. From the little bits shown, it is clear that Kate still struggles at times but she does seem to be making small improvements. Seriously, though, she needs a proper speech coach.
This article is just about the Place2Be visit. William and Kate did another event today which I will cover in a separate article. Also, today is a two post day, be sure to check out my article on William, Kate, and Harry’s attendance at Heads Together’s training day.