The Duchess of Cambridge paid a virtual visit to Clouds House in Wiltshire last week to learn more about how addiction is impacting people during the COVID-19 lockdowns.
Kate ‘visited’ the addiction treatment centre in her role as Patron of Action on Addiction; she met with staff members last week as well. The Duchess told the staffers on the call that after the lockdown is over, she would like to pay an in-person visit to the treatment centre to thank the staff personally.
During her virtual visit, Kate chatted with staffers to hear how the centre has changed its tactics during the pandemic and how people with addictions are coping during this time.
The Duchess of Cambridge said, “The worrying thing is, it is all those people who aren’t necessarily reaching out who are struggling, who perhaps don’t feel they can reach out.
“Or the fact that maybe they haven’t realised that addictive behaviours have sort of established, particularly if it’s the first time—and it’s those people who aren’t necessarily being vocal about it, it’s making sure that they know they can reach out and that you are there to help and support them in this very difficult time.”
She also met with both in-patient clients and those using virtual after-care treatment options from home.
Action on Addiction’s CEO, Graham Beech, told Kate that people living with addictions are having troubles coping during the pandemic.
“We are getting enquiries and phone calls from people who are not sure where to go and are not sure that treatment is available. We have discovered that people are struggling during lockdown,” he said.
“More people are drinking and gambling but also, we are concerned about the number of people who are struggling to maintain their recovery and are getting into relapse. We are particularly concerned about families and young people and the impact that lockdown and addiction are having.”
Action on Addiction conducted a poll during the pandemic and spoke with Kate about its results. The charity noted that 39% of people with a history of addiction have reported either a recurrence of addictive behaviour or have relapsed in recovery; and that an increase in addictive behaviour in young people has been noted since lockdowns began earlier this spring.
Her Royal Highness then spoke with two clients in the Clouds House after-care programme, Chris and Claire. Chris told Kate that the treatment centre’s programme provided “a gentle stepping stone back into reality. It kind of took away all of my temptations, the accessibility, the associations I had with friends.
“There’s always the fear of missing out and that kind of got taken away in a sense, so it was really nice for me, it felt gentle.”
The Duchess praised the work of Clouds House, saying that the centre is “a lifeline to so many people and it’s great that they’re able to continue the support whether remotely or those who actually are seeking treatment now, during lockdown, and finding life-changing support.
“Well done, Clouds House!”