Kensington Palace Kate Middleton
Kate Middleton is working to help mothers with their mental well-being.
Kensington Palace announced on Thursday evening that the Duchess of Cambridge is now the royal patron of the Maternal Mental Health Alliance, a U.K. charity that brings together over 100 organizations that ensure women and families affected by perinatal mental health challenges have access to high quality, comprehensive care and support. The announcement comes during Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week.
Kate, 40, said in a video message, "We all know that pregnancy, childbirth and the first months and years of a child's life can be hugely demanding. Parents often feel lonely and overwhelmed by these early years. Around 20% of women in the U.K. are reported to experience perinatal mental illness. Sadly, we also know that many more are suffering in silence."
She continues, "No one is immune to experiencing anxiety and depression during this time. It is crucial, therefore, that all those who might be struggling are given the right support at the right time, so that they're able to share these feelings without fear of judgment and can access the information, care and support they need to recover."
Kate — who is mom to Prince George, 8, Princess Charlotte, 7, and Prince Louis, 4 — said she was "extremely proud" to become patron of the organization.
"There is plenty more to be done. And it's down to each and every one of us to support parents and carers, and all those who are raising children today," she said. "Because by ensuring that the next generation of children can thrive, we can help to build a stronger, healthier and more nurturing society which benefits us all."
The patronage closely aligns with Kate's ongoing work on both mental health and the importance of early childhood development.
Last week, Kate stepped out with Princess Anne for a visit to the London headquarters of the Royal College of Midwives and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists — of which Anne and Kate are respective patrons.
In 2020, Kate got personal about her experiences during childbirth, revealing that she turned to "hypnobirthing" for all three of her deliveries. While battling hyperemesis gravidarum, a severe form of morning sickness she had during each pregnancy, Kate says she took it upon herself to learn about the birthing method.
"I got very bad morning sickness, so I'm not the happiest of pregnant people," Kate said in a revealing interview on the Happy Mum, Happy Baby podcast in February 2020.
Richard Pohle - WPA Pool/Getty Kate Middleton and Princess Anne
In a roundtable meeting, the two princesses took part in a discussion with experts and new moms about the measures being taken to tackle inequalities in maternity care. And they were shown some of the pioneering work being done to improve essential gynecological skills at a local level and worldwide.
Dr. Edward Morris, President of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, told PEOPLE, "What struck me was the way their Royal Highnesses were both interested and very curious about what we were doing and asked very personal questions — very much about looking after future generations and looking after mothers of today for the benefit of women and children of tomorrow."