One of my favorite quotes is by former Congressman Patrick Kennedy. He said, “I want a checkup from the neck up in every physician’s visit from our pediatrician to our geriatricians.”
Many mental health advocates have been saying for years that more needs to be done regarding mental health. We need to take steps to raise awareness, erase stigma, let people know how and where they can get help, and that mental illness can be treated.
However, mental illness can’t be addressed if a parent, loved one, or person even knows they have a problem.
Young Minds Matter, a program started by Kate Middleton, Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge is a huge step in addressing this problem.
Parents often fail to seek help for their children who they suspect have a mental illness because they don’t want to endure the stigma. They don’t want to think that others think they did something wrong. Most mental illnesses are caused by a chemical imbalance yet many people don’t know that. This contributes to why children and parents want to let others know they have a mental illness.
In addition to liking what Patrick Kennedy said I now like what Kate Middleton has said. “The mental health of our children must be seen as every bit as important as their physical health. For too long we have been embarrassed to admit when our children need emotional or psychiatric help, worried that the stigma associated with these problems would be detrimental to their futures.” Ref1
The program that Kate Middleton has put into place she hopes will make a real difference. She plans to use articles written by people have struggled with mental illness and won. These articles will also include researchers who are “asking important questions about the mental health of young people, and are getting answers that will be of real benefit to all parents and teachers.” Ref1
This exciting new adventure looks like it is really going to raise awareness about mental illness especially in children. Kate Middleton is hoping that you not only read the articles. She is also asking others to share their stories. If you are interested in contributing your story she asks that you send it to: firstname.lastname@example.org
It is great to hear that others are getting on board with this endeavor. This includes First Lady Michelle Obama. She has praised Kate for her efforts and has said,”The Duchess of Cambridge has been a passionate voice on so many important issues, and I’m grateful that she is using her day as guest editor to shine a bright light on mental health, particularly children’s mental health, and on the tens of millions of people who suffer in silence.and that getting help is not “a sign of weakness” but “a sign of strength”. Ref2
I hope that many other leaders continue to join this great cause.
If you are interested in becoming an advocate please see another blog I wrote: What can a mental health advocate do to help people with mental illnesses