The Duchess of Cambridge attended a forum in London today, to hear how schools can tackle mental health issues. The school leaders’ forum was hosted by the mental health charity, Place2Be, of which the Duchess is patron.
Upon arrival at UBS, Catherine was greeted by four Year Seven pupils from The Bridge Academy in Hackney, which benefits from Place2Be’s support. The Duchess was presented with a posey of flowers.
In a speech to young people, Catherine remarked: “Four years ago, when I became patron of Place2Be, I believed what you all know to be true: that getting support to children at the very earliest stage helps improve their outcomes later in life.”
“Schools and teachers are at the heart of this support, and have a crucial role to play. You know your pupils. You know their circumstances. You can spot when a family’s having a tough time. You occupy a special position because you can identify issues and take action when it’s most needed,” Kate, who is expecting her third child in April, told those gathered.
“Whether we are school leaders, teachers, support staff or parents we are all in this together. We are all working to give children the emotional strength they need to face their future lives and thrive.
“As a mother, just getting used to leaving my own child at the school gates, it is clear to me that it takes a whole community to help raise a child.”
This is the Royal’s second engagement – Catherine attended a gala dinner for one of her other patronages, the Anne Freud Centre last night – seemingly back to work after suffering with hyperemesis gravidarum in the early stages of her pregnancy.
— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) November 8, 2017
The Duchess has attended the past two conferences hosted by the charity. This year’s forum was titled, ‘I’m Fine!’, and involved the head boy and head girl of The Bridge Academy. Both students gave speeches on why they believe mental health awareness and support is important for teenagers and young people.
The school’s head boy Edmund Ross, 17, said that Place2Be provided ‘a frontline preventative service’ for young people: “When events like [suicidal thoughts] happen there is the obvious emotional stress it causes and it can lead to abrasiveness and tension between friends. Issues can also filter through to the classroom and can affect the learning of everyone involved.”
His comments were echoed by head girl, Dolapo Prince, 18, who said, “From personal experiences, I’m aware how difficult it is for a child to disclose sensitive information to their teachers, friends or even parents. This can result in the formation of emotional barriers to learning.”
Place2Be is a charity that promotes early intervention to build resilience in children and help them overcome mental health problems. On average, three children in every classroom have a mental health problem, with over half of those with lifelong issues first experiencing symptoms before the age of 14.