Kate becomes patron of organisation working to support mental health of mothers

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The Duchess of Cambridge has said no mother is “immune to experiencing anxiety and depression” as she became patron of a “fantastic organisation” supporting the mental health of women.

Kate said it was crucial for those “struggling” to be given the “right support at the right time” and also urged society to play its part, saying everyone needed to help “parents and carers, and all those who are raising children today”.

Her words were spoken in a video message recorded to mark her new role as patron of the Maternal Mental Health Alliance (MMHA), announced during Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week, which ends on Sunday.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visit south Wales
The Duchess of Cambridge has focused much of her public work on the early years development of children (Arthur Edwards/The Sun/PA)

The MMHA is a UK-wide charity and network of more than 100 organisations, working to ensure women and families affected by perinatal mental health problems have access to high-quality comprehensive care and support.

The duchess said in her video, the message of the week was about the “power and importance of connection” and how the past two years had reminded everyone about the role of relationships in long-term health and happiness, especially at the start of life for infants.

She added: “But 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 UK are reported to experience perinatal mental illness. Sadly, we also know that many more are suffering in silence. 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.”

The MMHA’s Everyone’s Business campaign is calling for all women in the UK who experience mental health problems before, during and after pregnancy to receive the care and support their families need.

The charity says around one in five women develop a mental health problem during pregnancy or within the early years after having a baby and the pandemic had increased the mental health risks new and expectant mothers face, which if untreated could have a devastating impact on a woman.

Kate went on to highlight how charities have been working together to raise awareness about these issues: “Much of this vital work has been led by the Maternal Mental Health Alliance, a fantastic organisation of which I am extremely proud to become patron of today.

“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.

“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.”

Kate has made the early years development of children one of the main pillars of her public role and her latest patronage complements the work she is trying to do through her Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood.

Luciana Berger, chair of the MMHA which was founded in 2011, said the alliance was “honoured” Kate had become its patron.

She added: “The duchess’s longstanding dedication to the early years and keen interest in mental health marry beautifully with the alliance’s mission to ensure every mum, baby and family affected by perinatal mental health problems can access the right care and support necessary.

“We look forward to working with the duchess to make this goal a reality for all.”

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