The Duchess of Cambridge is lending her celebrity to an important cause: promoting family-related mental health awareness. In a new PSA she is urging children and parents to treat emotional struggles as if they were physical ailments.
"Both William and I have seen that many young people are struggling to cope with the impact of bullying, bereavement, domestic violence, family breakdown and more," the duchess says in the PSA.
The concern of a princess met applause from at least one member of the mental health community.
"The more we talk about it from the top the more it trickles down to the kids who need it the most," said Dr. Joshua Rosenthal, a child psychologist and director of the Manhattan Psychology Group. Every day, he battles what he calls "lingering myths," which diagnose mental ailments as failures of willpower instead of biochemical or physiological disorders.
"Mental health still has a stigma in some ways," he said. "When you talk about mental health, people often think like 'Well, just get over it. If you were stronger, you wouldn't have anxiety or you wouldn't have depression.'"
So Rosenthal welcomed Kate Middleton's PSA endorsing the U.K.'s "Place to Be," which provides school-based mental health.
"I think it's also cultural," he said. "Some cultures and some ethnicities, mental health is not something you talk about."
During her December trip to New York, the duchess visited a Harlem mental health center. Children's psychologists say the younger the patient the more quickly doctors can help them.
"My biggest complaint as a child psychologist is that I can't see the kid soon enough," Rosenthal said.
He said he hopes the support of a princess convinces more parents to bring future patients to see him at a younger age.
"Early intervention and prevention is everything," he said.
"The stigma around mental health means many children do not get the help they so badly need," the duchess says in the PSA.