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Duchess of Cambridge presents awards at mental health event

The Duchess of Cambridge attended the Place2Be Wellbeing School Awards tonight in London at Mansion House. She has been the charity’s Patron since 2013, working with them to reduce and end stigmas surrounding mental health. Place2Be is part of the Heads Together mental health campaign The Duchess started with her husband, The Duke of Cambridge and brother-in-law, Prince Harry.

The Duchess presented awards to children and schools for their efforts in changing the climate around mental health in schools so children might act as ambassadors in their communities; facing their own issues such as bullying and feeling worried and/or helpless. Shyne, a student echoed this statement by telling Place2Be: ‘It’s good to have Place2Be in your school because if you don’t want to tell a teacher something then you can go to someone you trust. ‘

Shyne also said: ‘If you are being bullied or if you are worried and you don’t really know what to do next you can just go to Place2Be.’ Both a primary and secondary school were given awards for their work and commitment to mental health.

HT Lesley from Hackney New, which won the School Community Secondary Award said: ‘it’s wonderful to see how many boys as well as staff access place2be – that’s what it’s all about.’

The Duchess also presented the Young Person champion award and the Child Champion award to two young people who are working exceptionally hard to face their own mental health challenges and assist their peers face theirs.

School children sang “So Strong” before the awards were handed out. The Duchess mingled with the award finalists and guests. One was thirteen-year-old, Ethan Knapton from Preston. As Ethan told the Duchess of his struggles with autism and Asperger syndrome, his mother, Ceri became overcome with emotion, bursting in to tears.

Catherine put an arm around her shoulders, saying: “I’ve got to give you a hug as a mum.” Ms. Knapton told the Daily Mail afterwards: ‘The Duchess just leant over and said to me “I’ve got to give you a hug as a mum”. I couldn’t believe it, it was such a kind gesture.’

The Duchess also gave a speech during the Awards ceremony, which you can read below.

“Tonight, we are celebrating the truly remarkable work taking place across at Place2Be schools in support of children’s mental health.

“Without many of the inspiring people gathered here, countless children would not receive such transformational support in their schools. It is because of so many of you, that in their time of need, children have the help that will get them through tough times in their lives.

“I have been privileged over recent years to visit schools & meet the teachers, volunteers, and parents who make at Place2Be work a reality. Together, you ensure all of your students know they have somewhere to turn, someone who will listen, or simply a safe place to escape.

“Our young Champion finalists here tonight are extraordinary. You have not only faced challenges but had the resilience to overcome them. You have also, in your willingness to have open conversations, become young mental health pioneers.”

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