The royal family of England is known around the world. While this ruling family only has a small fraction of the political power that they once had, their fame and influence seems to be at an all-time high. Even though the media frets over what Kate Middleton is wearing and who might Prince Harry marry, this family has used their publicity to shed some light on a much needed cause: Mental Health.
Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge and wife of Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, has taken a large stance on children’s mental health. Earlier this winter, she released a video (above) promoting the importance of “early action” on children’s mental health. She explains that most parents would not hesitate to get help for a child with a broken bone but many do not seek help for their child’s mental health for fear of shame. Kate acknowledges that ignoring mental health issues in childhood can lead to larger issues in adulthood such as addiction and self-harm. She says “We need to help young people and their parents understand that it is not a sign of weakness to ask for help.” Kate supports Place 2 Be, a UK-based charity that aims to help children with emotional problems get the support they need. It’s Kate’s new role as a mother, to Prince George who is 2 years old and Princess Charlotte who is 9 months old, that has led Kate to realize how important children’s mental health truly is. That’s not all! Kate was a guest editor at the Huffington Post UK last week where she focused on the need for greater attention on children’s mental health. Working with the editorial team, she launched Young Minds Matter, a series that aims to “lead the way on the conversation of children’s mental health.” To read the Duchess of Cambridge’s first article in the Young Minds Matter series, go here.
Kate is not alone in her desire to spread mental health awareness; her brother-in-law, Prince Harry, is playing a large part as well. Prince Harry has served two tours of duty in Afghanistan with the British Military. Seeing the horrors and hardships of combat made him become aware of the need to help veterans returning home with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder(PTSD). Since the beginning of his military career he has done many great deeds to aid his fellow veterans who are suffering. He has visited several soldiers affected by PTSD and he has completed the harrowing 1,000 mile Walking with the Wounded last fall to raise awareness for the physical and mental health issues that come with combat. In 2014, inspired by the Warrior Games in the US, Prince Harry brought The Invictus Games to London. This organization arranges several different types of sporting events for veterans to showcase their amazing skills and good sportsmanship. Now this was not a small event. Tens of thousands gathered to watch servicemen and women compete in the same facilities that hosted the 2012 Olympic Games in London. The Invictus Games aren’t just an amazing way to honor servicemen and women but show the game participants that they are truly “unconquerable” which is what Invictus means in Latin. This year, The Invictus Games are coming to Orlando, FL.
Now all of this is happening mainly in the UK and I’m sure you are thinking “how does this help me?” or “how does this help non-British people with a mental health disorder?” Mental Health Awareness knows no borders and with the influence of the global fast-paced media, a positive message towards mental health can spread around the world. The internationally recognizable faces of Kate Middleton and Prince Harry help spread that message to many people. It shows that the taboo and stigma around mental health is starting to lift as celebrities and politicians begin to take mental health more seriously. These public figures advocating for better mental health services will most likely add to the quantity and quality of mental health services worldwide.
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