The Duchess of Cambridge has highlighted that no mother is "immune to experiencing anxiety and depression" in a video announcing her new role as patron of a "fantastic organisation" supporting the mental health of mothers.
Kate, 40, said it was crucial that those "struggling" are given the "right support at the right time" in her speech for Maternal Mental Health Alliance (MMHA).
She has also called on society to play its part and help as much as possible, including "parents and carers, and all those who are raising children today".
The MMHA is a UK-wide charity and network of more than 100 organisations, dedicated to ensuring women and families affected by perinatal (usually the period of time from pregnancy to a year after birth) mental problems have access to high-quality and comprehensive care and support.
The duchess said the message of the week was about the "power and importance of connection" and that the past couple of years have reminded us "just how much we need each other, and how vital our relationships are to our long-term health and happiness".
She added, "We all know that pregnancy, childbirth and the first months and years of a child’s life can be hugely demanding. Parents often feel lonely and overwhelmed by these early years.
“Around 20% of women in the UK are reported to experience perinatal mental illness. Sadly, we also know that many more are suffering in silence. No one is immune to experiencing anxiety and depression during this time.
“It is crucial, therefore, that all those who might be struggling are given the right support at the right time, so that they’re able to share these feelings without fear of judgment and can access the information, care and support they need to recover.”
The MMHA's Everyone's Business campaign is calling for all women in the UK who experience mental health problems before, during and after pregnancy to receive the care and support their family need.
Around one in five women develop a mental health problem during pregnancy or within the early years after having a baby, with Covid-19 increasing the mental health risks new and expectant mums face, according to the MMHA. In the UK, mental health problems in women before, during and after pregnancy too often go unrecognised, undiagnosed, and untreated.
This is why perinatal health problems need to be dealt with appropriately to prevent the potentially devastating impact on women and their families.
Much of Kate's focus has been dedicated to the early years and childhood development, with her launching the Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood in 2021, which will research and inform on this.
“The MMHA is honoured and delighted that The Duchess of Cambridge has recognised and chosen to support our work by becoming our Royal Patron,” said Luciana Berger, Chair of the Maternal Mental Health Alliance in a statement.
“The Duchess’ longstanding dedication to the Early Years and keen interest in mental health marry beautifully with the Alliance’s mission to ensure every mum, baby and family affected by perinatal mental health problems can access the right care and support necessary.
"We look forward to working with The Duchess to make this goal a reality for all.”
Kate added, "There is plenty more to be done. And it’s down to each and every one of us to support parents and carers, and all those who are raising children today. Because by ensuring that the next generation of children can thrive, we can help to build a stronger, healthier and more nurturing society which benefits us all.”
Watch: How can I improve my mental health?