Published 11 October 2016

Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge has convened a Learning Exchange Seminar on addiction and its impact on family mental health, during her first official visit to The Netherlands. 

Hosted by The British Ambassador, His Excellency Sir Geoffrey Adams, at the Residence in The Hague, the seminar brings together experts from the renowned Trimbos Institute, and representatives from two UK charities of which The Duchess is Patron, Action on Addiction and Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families. 

The Duchess of Cambridge will join a roundtable on the theme of early intervention, focussed on how to protect children who are affected by parental addiction and mental health problems within the family. 

Experts from each of the three organisations will also use the day to share ideas on subjects including using evidence based interventions in addiction and mental health; working with agency partners such as the family care and youth justice system, and ways to organise care across multiple generations within families.

Addiction and family mental health are two important  issues which The Duchess has been working on for some time and Her Royal Highnesses was keen to shine a spotlight on the import at work being carried out in this area.

Rutger Engels, President and Chief Executive officer of the Trimbos- institute said:

“Still too often children are overlooked when one of their parents has a mental disorder or addiction problem. We are very pleased that The Duchess will use her visit to the Netherlands to raise more awareness for the vulnerable position these children are in. Especially because we know they are at higher risk of developing mental or addiction problems themselves.  At Trimbos-institute we have several interventions for children, but also for their parents. We hope that by sharing our experience and knowledge with our colleagues in the UK and the excellent institutions they represent, we can take prevention and treatment for this group to a higher level."

Peter Fonagy, Chief Executive of Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families said: 

“Substance use disorder, perhaps more than any other mental disorder, impacts far beyond the individual with the problem and can destroy the life of many of those who are closely connected, particularly the family, parents, partners and dependent children. At the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families we are particularly concerned about the children growing up in such high risk environments.It is clear that we have much to learn about evidence-based care from colleagues in the Netherlands and Action on Addiction, and that we have valuable experience to contribute to this conversation, particularly in the area of treatment and prevention of addictions. I am delighted that the Duchess has opened this door for us to benefit from this preeminent international institution”.  

Graham Beech, Chief Executive of Action on Addiction said:

“We are very pleased to be taking part in this seminar and to have this opportunity to engage with organisations who share our passion for evidence based practice. We are grateful to The Duchess for continuing to shine a light on the cross cutting and often misunderstood subjects of mental health and addiction. And we look forward to applying lessons learnt from one another's experience for the benefit of the individuals and families we work with.”