UK's Children's Mental Health Week Inspires Young People to 'Be Yourself'

By Victoria Kim 02/06/18

Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton is part of the weeklong initiative to encourage young people to embrace each other's differences.

Kate Middleton
Duchess Kate in the PSA Photo via Twitter/Kensington Palace

This week (February 5-11) is Children’s Mental Health Week in the UK, and once again, the British royal family is at the helm.

This year’s theme is “Being Ourselves,” to instill a healthy self-image in young people and to encourage children to accept and embrace each other’s differences.

In a new video, Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, highlights the importance of inspiring good self-esteem in young children, and the work of Place2Be, the organization that launched Children’s Mental Health Week in 2015.

“Childhood is an incredibly important moment in our lives,” said Middleton. “It is the time when we explore our personalities, discover the potential that lies within us, and learn how to be ourselves. Our experience of the world at this early stage helps to shape who we become as adults and how we begin to feel comfortable in our own skin.”

Place2Be provides therapeutic and emotional support in schools across the UK. Its mission is to offer mental health support to young people, to help build a solid foundation and  resilience early in life. Schools play a crucial role in the development of a child’s emotional foundation.

“I think schools have a really important role in trying to encourage children and young people to be themselves,” said one girl at a round table discussion with the duchess. “When I first started in Year 7 I found it quite difficult to try and put forward who I was.” With the help of Place2Be, she found her way.

Helping young people establish a strong sense of self is especially important in this day and age, said another student. Young people can be especially vulnerable to being misled by the distorted reality presented by social media’s curated content.

A parent sitting in on the round table attested to the program’s effect on her own kids. Place2Be helped them “be comfortable in their own skin and embrace who they are… so they never feel like they’re in competition with someone else,” she said.

Acknowledging the importance of supporting children, their individuality, strengths and weaknesses, is at the heart of Place2Be and Children’s Mental Health Week.

“Some children will be facing tougher challenges than others, but I firmly believe that while we cannot change their circumstances, we can ensure that every child is given the best possible support to ensure they fulfill their true potential,” said Middleton.

“This is best achieved when we, the adults in their lives, work together to give children the emotional strength they need to face their futures an thrive.”

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