In her second outing of Mental Health Awareness Week, the Princess of Wales headed to a favorite charity, the Anna Freud Centre, to talk to experts about the latest research in mental health and chat to students about their own work in tackling anxiety.
Princess Kate, 41, is the patron of Anna Freud and has been a cheerleader for the organization — where neuroscientists and practitioners in mental health, social care and education work together with children and families to transform mental health — since early in her royal life.
She began her visit on Thursday by taking part in round table discussions alongside experts, Anna Freud staff and those with lived experience of mental health challenges to discuss support for the mental well-being of current and future generations.
One of those experts was Prof. Peter Fonagy, a longtime ally of the royal in the area and who is also one of her advisory team for Princess Kate’s Centre for Early Childhood.
After those meetings, Kate spent time with a group of high school students who have been taking part in interactive activities that explore how they deal with their own anxious feelings, reflecting the theme of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week, “Anxiety.” The group’s discussions were based on “Let’s Talk About Anxiety,” a new animation and teacher toolkit which has been co-created by the students themselves.
The toolkit will help them to understand that anxiety is a normal emotion, as well as offering advice for coping. It is seen as part of Anna Freud’s ‘Closing the Gap’ strategy which aims to develop new thinking on mental health solutions and address inequitable access to mental health support for children and young people across the U.K. That situation has got worse since the pandemic, the Princess’s office says.
Earlier this week, mother-of-three Kate revealed that anxiety is something she feels too – revealing she has a lot to learn about royal life, especially in areas like public speaking.
Kate was talking when she visited schoolgirls who were being mentored by the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust. “She said she ‘had to learn and she’s still learning every day,’ ” Holmes told PEOPLE.
“It’s a struggle to know you can be accepted and fit in,” Holmes added.
“Doing public speaking isn’t a natural thing for lots of people, and she said she’s still working that out, how to project,” Holmes told PEOPLE. “She humanized everything to show not everyone’s perfect.”