Today, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge was back to work, visiting a number of children’s mental health centres.
Kate visited the Anna Freud Centre in North London, which was opened in 1952, as The Hampstead Clinic, began by Anna Freud, the youngest child of the famous Sigmund Freud. It was the first child psychoanalytic centre for observational research, teaching and learning, and was renamed in her honour, after her death in 1982.
Today, Catherine was learning how the centre is helping to change mental health care for children and young people; the Duchess has made the cause one of her main focuses, along with art and children’s hospices and palliative care.
Michael Samuel, chairman of Trustees, said: “We are absolutely delighted that you are here and very grateful and hope that today you will get a real insight into all aspects of our work.
“Your continued support on this very important issue will be an invaluable ingredient towards making the real and urgent progress which is necessary in this area.”
The Anna Freud centre will create a new hub to help reduce the burden of mental health difficulties on children and young people. Experts in the fields of mental health, neuroscience and education will work alongside one another, helping to treat families and children, while developing new treatments. Kate was shown the plans for this new centre.
Catherine challenged the children, and had a go in the ‘Smart Gym’, which combines technology with sports psychology. The Duchess tried something similar back in 2012, against husband, Prince William; it was at St George’s Park, the home of the England Football Team. At the Anna Freud centre, it aims to improve mental health and academic performance.
She said: “It’s wonderful that she has come here because that shows me that she’s interested in families and children and the problems that people can have.
“I imagine it’s because she’s a mum herself, she has compassion for families and kids who are suffering in difficult situations.
Andrea, 33, who turned to the Anna Freud Centre while living in a cramped homeless hospital with her husband and four-month-old son, is now a member of AFC’s parents’ panel.
“These problems don’t come only to people who live in hostels, they can happen to very wealthy families.”
“I have gone from not being able to cope to helping other people to gain hope and confidence by tackling their own issues.
“Without the support of the Anna Freud Centre, none of that would be possible,” she said.
The Family School, a charity sponsored by the Anna Freud Centre, was the next stop for the Duchess. The centre has
over 60 years’ experience working with children suffering from serious emotional and behavioural issues.
In London, it is considered a unique educational asset, which takes on those youths that schools have found difficult to handle or were unsuitable for mainstream schooling. These children need early and sustained intervention to ensure they are not permanently excluded from school, and early intervention is something Kate is keen to encourage.