Today, the Duchess of Cambridge attended ‘Mental Health in Education’ Conference organized by the Royal Foundation’s Heads Together at Mercers’ Hall in London. This event forms part of The Duchess’ continuing work at The Royal Foundation, where much of her focus is on supporting and promoting the mental health of children and young people. Duchess has been a long-time champion of both mental health and young children.
Heads Together is a mental health initiative launched by The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry under the umbrella of the Royal Foundation to combine a campaign that tackles the stigma around Mental Health and change the conversation on mental health with fundraising for a series of innovative new mental health services.
The Duchess of Cambridge at a Royal Foundation conference on mental health in education today. pic.twitter.com/RaA9rc3Xp3
— Richard Palmer (@RoyalReporter) February 13, 2019
The Duchess of Cambridge arriving in the hall and taking a seat.
Host Kate Silverton welcomed the Duchess and said,
As you all know she has been a great driving force behind much of the royal foundation supporting children in their earliest years. Your Royal Highness it’s an absolute honour to have you with us here today, thank you for all the work that you are doing in this field.
The conference is bringing together delegates from across the mental health and education sectors to explore and discuss the benefits of collaborative working and what more can be done to tackle mental health issues in schools.
The event, hosted by broadcaster and presenter Kate Silverton, had a full day of speakers, panel discussions and breakout sessions. As per Simon Perry from People, Catherine Roche, chief executive of Place2be, said, “Providing a specific training for newly-qualified teachers helps with their understanding with how children come to school with everyday challenges — whether it’s from home life or school life.”
The Duchess listened to a number of sessions, including one on the benefits of integrating mental health modules into teacher training courses, and another on the role of school leaders in creating a culture of wellbeing in schools.
During her visit, The Duchess of Cambridge met the Head Teachers from a number of schools that are currently piloting The Royal Foundation’s ‘Mentally Healthy Schools’ programme. Launched by The Duchess in January 2018, ‘Mentally Healthy Schools’ is a website giving primary schools free access to hundreds of the highest quality mental health resources, helping teachers better support their pupils’ mental health.
A mentally healthy school is one that adopts a whole-school approach to mental health and wellbeing. It is a school that helps children flourish, learn and succeed by providing opportunities for them, and the adults around them, to develop the strengths and coping skills that underpin resilience. A mentally healthy school sees positive mental health and wellbeing as fundamental to its values, mission and culture. It is a school where child, staff and parent/carer mental health and wellbeing is seen as ‘everybody’s business’.
A free and easy to use website specifically designed to offer primary school teachers greater support and advice, providing reliable and practical resources including 600+ lesson plans, activities, assemblies and more, to make it easier for them to better support their pupils’ mental health. It is one of the legacy programmes from the Heads Together campaign and is being delivered in partnership with The Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families, Place2Be and Young Minds. Learn more about Mentally Healthy Schools here.
At the launch of Mentally Healthy Schools in January 2018, The Duchess of Cambridge said:” I’m all too aware, of how much we ask teachers to take on. You need resources you can trust, and you need to have easy access to them at all times.”
Catherine then joined a round-table meeting with teachers and specialists from the sector to further discuss the potential impact of consistent mental health teacher training, as well as the challenges facing its implementation.
A key barrier to teachers feeling best equipped to support the mental health of their pupils and themselves is a lack of formal training. Duchess discussed with teachers and specialists on how to facilitates teachers to tackle mental health more efficiently.
“When I first started out – and I’ve learned a lot in a short period of time working with organizations – I was very naive myself as a parent of really just how important particularly the early years are for children’s futures,” said the royal mom of three – Prince George, 5, Princess Charlotte, 3, and Prince Louis, 10 months.
“And how critical it is, everyone looking after children at a critical time, teachers, parents, and everyone who’s caring for them, how important it is that we get it right,” she continued. “I didn’t know what some of the issues that perhaps we take for granted here as experts know about, but it’s being able to translate it to those who don’t have the training in a way that the points come across clearly.”
“I know from a parent’s perspective it’s certainly not discussed, the importance of childhood development, and I know that’s a different challenge,” she said. “But also the importance of relationship building, empathy and resilience can also be taught and monitored at home as well.”
Initially, Duchess was not intended to give a speech but after the stay of more than 5 hours at the conference and listening to the speakers, she took notes and gave an impromptu speech. Speaking at the conference Duchess said, “It’s important that we support teachers with their own mental health so they can support children”.
“It is clear that the positive development of our children is directly linked to those who care for them, teachers, carers and parents.” — The Duchess of Cambridge #MHinEducation pic.twitter.com/47sBaYQtgS
— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) February 13, 2019
Full text of Duchess’ Speech at the Mental Health Conference in London:
It’s really so exciting to hear everyone here speaking with your wealth of experience about the importance of mental health and particularly the emotional development of our children and teachers. What we have all been discussing here today really brings to light the vital role teachers are playing in supporting our youngest children’s mental health. Thank you all for your dedication to this important cause, whether you work in schools, universities, charities or elsewhere.
Over the last eight years working with charities I’ve met some of our leading experts in mental health, addiction, family breakdown, homelessness and education.They have taught me over and over again that the root cause of so many of today’s social problems can be traced right back to the very earliest years of a person’s life and often over generations.
The scientific and other evidence is clear the first few years of a child’s life are more pivotal for development and for future health and happiness than any other single moment in our life time. It is also clear that the positive development of our children is directly linked to those who care for them, teachers, carers and parents.
And as we have heard today, it is therefore vital that we support teachers with their own wellbeing so that they can find the best level of care for all children, in their schools and communities in which they work. No one of us however can make a difference alone.
I feel so passionately about working together and being here today has affirmed to me just how much already is being done, so thank you to all of you who are prioritising the importance of mental health and the importance of childhood development as a whole. I look forward to hearing how your discussions will lead to proactive steps and to an ever more resounding commitment to mentally healthy schools, teachers and children.
For the day, Catherine is wearing a new bouclé tweed skirt suit. Rebecca English on Twitter informed that the suit is from Dolce&Gabbana. Laura on Twitter shared the pictures of two jackets. It looks like the Jacket is a combination of label’s Two blazers shown here and here.
The skirt hemline and jacket cuffs feature a frayed detailing. The label of the suit is still to be identified. Although the dress reminds us of Catherine’s Chanel Suit she wore in March 2016 during Paris visit.
The double-breasted jacket features lapel collars with full-sleeved fitted silhouette having sapphire-esque buttons. The jacket is paired with a matching pleated above-the-knee skirt. The shorter length of the skirt also makes me think that it could be an old piece from her wardrobe that we have seen for the first time.
And her Tod’s Suede Pumps.
Catherine is carrying her trust Mulberry Bayswater Clutch.
Duchess finished her look with Kiki Morganite Cushion Drop & Diamond Earrings.
In the evening, Duchess will attend 100 Women in Finance Gala dinner in aid of Mentally Healthy Schools.