Kate, 35, who is expecting her third child in April, missed George’s first day in September because she was suffering from severe morning sickness in the first stages of her pregnancy.
Speaking at the opening of the annual School Leaders Forum run by one of the charity Place2Be in London, she said, “As a mother, just getting used to leaving my own child at the school gates, it is clear to me that it takes a whole community to help raise a child. Whether we are school leavers, teachers, support staff or parents we are all in this together.”
Kate, in a plum colored dress by Goat, (see a similar style here), told delegates, “Collaborating with experts like yourselves, we’re looking at providing easy access to information and practical tools to support teachers, parents and children feel comfortable talking about their mental health. We are all here today because we share the belief that every child deserves the chance to fulfill their potential.
“When I came to this conference two years ago, I left with a real sense of energy and passion about what we could all achieve together,” she continued. “And I’m looking forward to learning even more today.”
Earlier, Kate heard from two students from Bridge Academy in nearby Hackney, where Place2be is offered in their school. Head boy Edmund Ross, 17, said that the organization offered “a front line preventative service” for children.
He said many had been touched in some way by suicide — especially among young men, something he had experienced. “When events like that happen, there is the obvious emotional stress it causes and it can lead to abrasiveness and tension between friends,” he said. “Issues can also filter through to the classroom and can affect the learning of everyone involved.”
Like many, he and peers face crucial exams. He added, “With exams at any age it can feel like your entire future is resting on your shoulders. It’s important that someone somewhere can provide an atmosphere that’s receptive, calming and most of all allows you to explore your options. It’s exactly these qualities that prove why Place2be is so important at the Bridge.”
In her speech, Head girl ‘Dolapo Prince, 18, added, “Domestic violence, abandonment, poverty and anxiety are only a fraction of the various challenges students face. Mental health is rarely openly discussed in schools but yet it is an issue that can shape the future of the individual.”
“From personal experiences, I’m aware how difficult it is for a child to disclose sensitive information to their teachers, friends or even parents. This can result in the formation of emotional barriers to learning.”
The Wednesday stop followed Kate’s gala night out on Tuesday for another of her favorite mental health charities, the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families (where she wore a dress also favored by Meghan Markle).
Place2Be’s School Leaders Forum brings together senior leaders from Place2Be partner schools in England, Scotland and Wales to share ideas, knowledge and practical insights. This year’s theme is “I’m Fine!” and will hear from leaders in child psychiatry, psychology and research, alongside head teachers, which have Place2Be in their schools.
arly intervention in tackling mental health challenges has long been a key part of Kate’s public work. Last week, she hosted a private discussion at the palace to hear more from experts – including the AFNCCF and Best Beginnings — to gain a greater understanding of the issues and learn what support is available.