Duchess Kate Is Helping Children Better Understand Mental Health — And How To Talk About It

"Sometimes it's just a simple conversation that can make things better."

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, formerly known as Kate Middleton, is using her platform to help children understand what mental health is, and how to talk about their problems with friends, parents, and teachers. The Duchess filmed an introduction to a new animation from the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families, a children's mental health charity in the U.K.

"Mental health is how we feel and think — things that can't really be seen, but that affect us every day," Kate says at the start of the video. "And talking about them can feel difficult."

She goes on to share more about the short film, which was designed for children, but can be beneficial for people of all ages to hear. It's part of the organization's "You're never too young to talk mental health" campaign, which offers free resources for mental health support in the classroom.

"It helps us all talk about our 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," Kate says of the animation. "Sometimes, it's just a simple conversation that can make things better."

The video, which features children's drawings and voiceovers from real kids, stresses the importance of looking after mental health in addition to physical health. It offers ideas for how to start a conversation with someone if you're struggling, and how to listen if someone comes to you with a problem. 

"If your feelings are getting too big to cope with on your own, talking to someone you trust might really help," the video advises viewers.

"As parents, we all want our children to have the best possible start in life," Kate, who is currently pregnant with her third child, said in a statement posted on the Kensington Palace Twitter account. "Encouraging children 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 not the first time the Duchess has spoken out about mental health. Last year, she, her husband Prince William, and her brother-in-law Prince Harry launched the Heads Together initiative, to help end the stigma associated with mental illness — which affects nearly 1 in 5 adults in the United States and 1 in 4 in the U.K.

More recently, Prince Harry opened up about his decision to seek counseling at age 28 after "shutting down all of my emotions" following the death of his mother, Princess Diana, when he was 12. "I know there is huge merit in talking about your issues and the only thing about keeping it quiet is that it's only ever going to make it worse," Harry said earlier this year.

"The more we talk about mental health, the more normal the topic becomes, and the more we feel able to open up and seek support," Prince William said at the time of the initiative's launch. In the months since, the royals have continued to set an important example.

Watch the animation, with Kate's introduction, below:

(H/T: Mashable)

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