The Princess of Wales marks Mental Health Awareness Week
Published 16 May 2023
To mark Mental Health Awareness Week, The Princess of Wales will carry out engagements on Tuesday 16 and Thursday 18 May. Her Royal Highness’ visits will include conversations with young people about the importance of ensuring that they are equipped with tools to be able to process and deal with the challenges they are facing in a healthy and positive way.
Anna Freud Centre
On Thursday 18 May, The Princess of Wales, Patron of Anna Freud, visited the charity’s London home.
Anna Freud brings together research, clinical expertise, and training to build the mental wellbeing of future generations. Building on 70 years’ experience, they turn research into practice to give more children and young people the help they need, when they need it. At Anna Freud, neuroscientists and practitioners in mental health, social care and education work together with children and young people to transform mental health for children, young people and their families.
During her visit, The Princess of Wales joined a series of roundtable discussions alongside sector experts, Anna Freud staff and those with lived experience of mental health challenges to discuss how we can support the mental wellbeing of current and future generations. Attendees reflected on how evidence-based research, clinical expertise and young people’s lived experience can be united to create innovative new ideas and close the gap between children’s needs and the help they receive.
Her Royal Highness also meet a group of secondary school students who have been taking part in interactive activities that explore how they deal with their own anxious feelings. The theme of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week is ‘Anxiety’, and the group’s discussions will be based on ‘Let’s Talk About Anxiety’, a new animation and teacher toolkit which has been co-created by the students themselves. The students learnt more about how anxiety plays a part, at times, in everyone’s lives. They also had the chance to learn about, and practise, healthy coping skills and take part in activities to identify practical strategies that can help them when they feel anxious.
Dame Kelly Holmes Trust
On Tuesday 16 May, The Princess of Wales visited the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust in Bath to meet the young people that the charity supports.
Dame Kelly Holmes Trust is a youth development charity founded on the belief that every young person needs a champion. The organisation puts world class athletes shoulder-to-shoulder with young people to pass on their winning mindset and provide coaching and mentoring, helping those who are facing adversity to develop the skills and confidence they need to succeed in education, work and life.
During her visit, The Princess spent time with students from St Katherine’s School in Bristol who are taking part in the On Track To Achieve programme, delivered by their athlete mentor, Paralympic gold medallist Liz Johnson.
Her Royal Highness heard from the pupils about their personal experiences and some of the challenges that young people face today, and how working with an athlete mentor has supported them to better express their emotions, build resilience, and promote positive mental health and wellbeing.
Dame Kelly Holmes, the charity’s President and Founder, also spoke about her own experiences and how they inspired her to set up the charity in 2008.
The Princess was also on her visit to the Trust by presenter, documentary maker and mental health advocate, Zara McDermott, who is one of the Shaping Us campaign champions. The campaign aims to raise public awareness of the crucial importance of the first five years of a child’s life, during which time our brains develop faster than any other time of our lives. Our experiences, relationships, and surroundings at that very young age, lay the foundations for the rest of our lives which is why building a supportive nurturing world around children and their carers is so important.
The Princess of Wales’ work with Mental Health
The Princess of Wales has long been a champion of prioritising mental wellbeing, including that of children and young people. Her Royal Highness has dedicated her time to supporting various mental health programmes, such as the launch of Heads Together, Shout 85258, and the Mentally Healthy Schools programme. She is also patron of a number of charities which are focussed on promoting and providing mental health support to those in need.
In January 2023, The Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood launched Shaping Us, a long-term campaign spearheaded by The Princess. The campaign aims to transform the issue of early childhood from one of scientific interest to one of the most strategically important topics of our time. The campaign also highlights that, by focusing our collective time, energy, and resources to build a supportive, nurturing world around all children and those caring for them, we can make a huge difference to the physical and mental health and happiness of generations to come.