The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge paid a very special visit to the YoungMinds Parents Helpline headquarters today as part of their Heads Together campaign.
Greeted by sunny weather and warm welcomes, Their Royal Highnesses got to witness first-hand the hard work and dedication that goes into running the Parents Helpline.
After friendly chats with staff and volunteers at YoungMinds, The Duke and Duchess received a helpline short course in becoming a volunteer. This taster session provided them with an in depth understanding of the caller’s experience upon contacting the helpline.
As the morning progressed, Their Royal Highnesses observed some of the calls the helpline received and experienced a typical debriefing session to round off the day. All the while, volunteers were able to talk with the Duke and Duchess about their experiences and motivation for joining the Parents Helpline.
A FANTASTIC SERVICE
Of the visit William said: “I found it very eye-opening. I thought the service was fantastic.
I think it's fantastic, the idea that you’ve got these very caring, lovely people on the end of the phone who listen for as long as they need to, to build the picture of what is going on, and then provide extremely good advice - and then the fact that you’ve got the mental health professionals later down the line if necessary. I think that is a really good balance of getting the right support straight to these families who are clearly at their wits’ end at what to do, and reaching out. Thank goodness they do reach out to something like this.”
While Kate added: “What we’ve taken away is just how normal it is. We are parents ourselves, I am sure we will face worries - we do face worries, because we’ve got small young children. If those worries escalate, how vital it is to get support - and you are providing that support.
As a parent and as a mother, having that feeling that there is somebody there that is non-judgemental, that can provide the professional support, and that can really provide a helping hand at a really difficult time, makes a real difference.
William went on to say: “It is important that parents understand that you can’t be brilliant at everything. It's totally fine to talk about it and to seek help and to speak out, because we’re not all superheroes.
There is a lot of pressure on parents, and most of it is self-made by parents themselves, where you feel you have to be able to handle everything. You have to show strength and resilience to everything. But there are some times when it all gets too much and you need to reach out.
The Parents Helpline
The Parents Helpline is a beneficial free support network set up by YoungMinds to advise parents who are concerned about their child. From behavioural and emotional issues, to the mental health of a child or young person (up to the age of 25), the helpline aims to answer any questions a parent or adult might have.
Calls are answered by a friendly volunteer from the helpline who has received expert training in how to help parents understand their child’s behaviour.
Our Parents Helpline has provided advice and support to more than 13,000 people in the last year – and the numbers are continuing to go up.
Heads Together is a powerful mental health campaign led by The Royal Foundation in partnership with YoungMinds and seven other charities. The aim of the campaign is to challenge mental health stigma and change the national conversation on mental wellbeing.
The campaign is fronted by The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry who have been part of a series of events set up by Heads Together, including the Parents Helpline visit, to create awareness around the issue of mental health.