To mark Mental Health Awareness Week, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge travelled to the West Midlands on Thursday. Prince William and Catherine’s visit highlighted the local organisations that support children and young people.
Hosted by the Mental Health Foundation, the Mental Health Awareness Week is being celebrated between May 10 and May 16. This year’s theme is ‘Nature’. The foundation described the reason for the theme as, “Nature is so central to our psychological and emotional health, that it’s almost impossible to realise good mental health for all without a greater connection to the natural world”.
“During Mental Health Awareness Week 2021, we will pull together the evidence that demonstrates the powerful benefits of nature for our mental health. We will look at nature’s unique ability to not only bring consolation in times of stress but also increase our creativity, empathy and a sense of wonder. It turns out that it is not just being in nature but how we open ourselves up and interact with nature that counts. We will show that even small contacts with nature can reduce feelings of social isolation and be effective in protecting our mental health, and preventing distress”.
The week is bringing together two of the causes, The Duchess of Cambridge is absolutely passionate about – Mental Health and the outdoors. In 2019, The Duchess designed a beautiful ‘Back to Nature’ garden for RHS Chelsea.
“I believe that spending time outdoors when we are young can play a role in laying the foundations for children to become happy, healthy adults” – The Duchess of Cambridge.
The day in the West Midlands began at The Way Wolverhampton Youth Zone, an organisation supporting young people to transform their lives. Their services focus on health and wellbeing, sports, arts, learning and the Way Cafe. The Way Youth Zone is a youth-led safe space for 8 to 25-year-olds.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge joined young people who use The Way’s services for several wellbeing sessions, and also met a group of HeadStart ambassadors. Regarding the choice of visit location, Palace said, “Established by the National Lottery Community Fund, HeadStart is a programme designed to improve the resilience and emotional wellbeing of children and young people by giving them the skills they need to address the challenges of modern life”.
As part of the programme, the Anna Freud Centre, a Heads Together charity partner of which the Duchess is Patron, and University College London are evaluating evidence about new ways to improve the mental health and wellbeing of young people and to prevent serious mental health issues from developing. It includes survey responses from 65,000 children and young people – including many young people from Wolverhampton — such as those accessing HeadStart support at the Way – about their mental health and the strengths, skills and social connections that support their wellbeing.
Both William and Catherine tried their hands at various sports activities i.e. archery, table tennis. Prince William joked about the upcoming milestone birthday, “We are still calling ourselves young but we are not. I don’t see myself as that young anymore. I’m nearly 40.”
The next stop was Base25, a vital service aimed at improving the lives of young people aged between 3 and 25 in the local area. The organisation works with 5000 young people every year. The Base25 has been operating for over twenty years offering a range of supports and services. The charity offers student placement opportunities for locals and their fundraising effort over half a million pounds benefitting people in Wolverhampton.
The Duke and Duchess heard about the tailored support offered and heard from several young people supported by Base25.
From there, the couple headed to meet some pets at HugglePets at Loxdale primary school. The non-profit organisation was founded in 2018 and uses Animal-Assisted Therapy to help children with SEN disabilities or those experiencing mental health challenges engage with therapy and wellbeing activities. The couple received a warm welcome not just from the organization and children but from Barbara the Bearded Dragon and Gus the Guinea Pig too.
For the away day, The Duchess of Cambridge chose a stylish look. She was wearing a new navy Catherine Walker coat. Thanks to Middleton Maven for the id.
Underneath the coat, The Duchess of Cambridge was wearing a Tory Burch silk polka-dot blouse. The sold-out navy blouse featured a polka dot print, a classic collar, a button fastening and long sleeves.
The Duchess paired it up with navy Jigsaw high-waisted trousers.
She was wearing her Emmy London Josie Block Heel Pointed Shoe.
And carried her Smythson Panama cross-grained leather purse with strap
Another new element of the look was Freya Rose Mini hoops with detachable Pearls. The £95 Mini Hoops with Detachable Pearls are handmade with five freshwater pearls on 18ct gold-plated silver earrings. They are available at the Freya Rose store and on Wolf & Badger.
The Duchess was also wearing her Halcyon Days Gold Plated Maya Torque Bracelet in Aquamarine
Catherine was wearing Amaia Kids Adult Reusable cotton face mask – The Duchess Blue Phoebe.
On Friday, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will participate in the Mental Health Minute when the radio around the nation will play an important message about Mental health. They will be joined by David Beckham, Dame Shirley Bassey, Joanna Lumley and many more in support of ShoutUK.