Kate Middleton is speaking out about a cause very close to her heart.
The royal mom visited Roe Green Junior School in London on Tuesday, where she met with students and teachers, taking part in a lesson designed to help support children’s mental health and well-being.
Upon her arrival, Princess Kate — who wore a Seraphine cornflower blue dress and coat by Sportmax with a Tanzanite Pendant Necklace and matching earrings by G. Collins & Sons — was greeted by over 100 schoolchildren, who performed a song.
Breaking the stigma surrounding mental health awareness is one of Kate’s key causes. Along with Prince William and Prince Harry, she formed the Heads Together campaign, and they are each supporting a series of programs to ensure that people can get access to the right help, at the right place and time.
The Royal Foundation has funded the Mentally Healthy Schools website with an £800,000 grant, and it has so far been trialled in 50 schools across the country. The foundation brought together mental health experts and charities to build the project, which aims to tackle the fact that more than half of all adult mental health problems start before age 14.
After entering the school, Kate chatted with teachers and then sat down in one of the classrooms, where she helped students with a project encouraging them to think about their mental health.
“What does is mean to be resilient?” she asked, reading one of the questions in front of the children.
Speaking to one little girl, Princess Kate said, “Charlotte is only two and a half, she’s still very little.”
She added of her son, “George is four and a half… He is at school today.”
During the event, Kate gave a moving speech in support of the new project, saying, “We know that mental health is an issue for us all – children and parents, young and old, men and women – of all backgrounds and of all circumstances.”
“What we have seen first-hand is that the simple act of having a conversation about mental health – that initial breaking of the silence – can make a real difference,” said the royal. “But, as you here today know: starting a conversation is just that – it’s a start.”
“My own commitment is to the youngest, most vulnerable in their early years — babies, toddlers and schoolchildren,” Kate says as she launches Mentally Healthy Schools project for @heads_together. Via @people @PEOPLEroyals pic.twitter.com/F1NeWXMQp4— Simon Perry (@SPerryPeoplemag) January 23, 2018
She continued, “I see time and time again that there is so much to be gained from talking of mental health and taking the mental health of our children as seriously as we do their physical health. When we intervene early in life, we help avoid problems that are much more challenging to address in adulthood.”
The website is expected to be available later this term in all primary schools. Content will be provided in four main areas: teaching resources, risks and protective factors, mental health needs, and whole school approach for school leaders.
Former Head Teacher, Claire Thomson — one of the Quality Assurance Advisors to the website — said, “I can see this website becoming a favorite go-to site for information about the many aspects of mental health.”
Melissa Loosemore, headteacher at Roe Green Junior School, similarly shared, “I seriously hope that this wonderful initiative will take our children into a better place.”
The royal, who is expecting her third child in April, opened up about the realities of motherhood last year. She said that the challenges she faced since becoming a parent have led her to feel, at times, a “lack of confidence” and “feelings of ignorance.” She then went on to discuss the importance of destigmatizing mental health, in particular, when it comes to new parents.
“Personally, becoming a mother has been such a rewarding and wonderful experience,” she said. “However, at times it has also been a huge challenge. Even for me who has support at home that most mothers do not.”
“Nothing can really prepare you for you the sheer overwhelming experience of what it means to become a mother. It is full of complex emotions of joy, exhaustion, love, and worry, all mixed together,” she said. “Your fundamental identity changes overnight. You go from thinking of yourself as primarily an individual, to suddenly being a mother, first and foremost.”