Kate urges parents to ‘look after’ their mental health during pandemic

The Duchess of Cambridge has recorded a video message to mark Children’s Mental Health Week. Credit: PA

The Duchess of Cambridge has appealed to parents to “look after” themselves during this “hugely challenging time” in a video message to mark Children’s Mental Health Week.

Kate also said mothers and fathers need to be “the very best versions of ourselves for the children in our care” in her address.

She has supported the annual initiative since it was launched in 2015 – to highlight the importance of children and young people’s mental health – by Place2Be, a children’s mental health charity of which she is royal patron.

In her message, due to be released later on Sunday, Kate said: “This year’s Children’s Mental Health Week is all about expressing yourself – about finding creative ways in which to share your thoughts, ideas and feelings.

“So whether that’s through photography, through art, through drama, through music or poetry – it’s finding those things that make you feel good about yourself.

“And while this is Children’s Mental Health Week there has never been a more important time to talk about parental wellbeing and mental health too.

“Last year you told me just how important this was, that many of us find it hard to prioritise. This is a hugely challenging time for us all so please look after yourself too.

“Find those ways in which to share your thoughts and your feelings or find someone to talk to because we really do need to be the very best versions of ourselves for the children in our care.”

Kate during a visit to a primary school in 2019 in support of Mental Health Week Credit: Chris Jackson/PA

Last year Kate released the findings of her landmark study on the early years development of children.

The research revealed that while 90% of people acknowledged maintaining parental mental health was crucial to supporting the health and happiness of their child, in practice the majority of parents struggled to prioritise their own wellbeing.

In a recent video call with parents, the duchess revealed parenting during lockdown has left her “exhausted” and joked about her children recoiling in “horror” when she became their hairdresser.

To start Children’s Mental Health Week – February 1-7 – Place2Be has teamed up with Oak National Academy and Bafta Kids to create a free assembly celebrating this year’s theme of “Express Yourself”.

The online event begins at 9am on Monday and will feature Blue Peter’s Lindsey Russell and CBBC presenter Rhys Stephenson alongside other famous faces.