It is a great honour to be with you here this evening for these very special Place2Be Awards. Tonight, we are celebrating the truly remarkable work taking place across Place2Be schools in support of children's mental health. Without many of the inspiring people gathered here this evening, countless children would not receive the transformational support in their schools. It is because of so many of you, that in their time of need, children have the help, care and attention that will get them through tough times in their lives.
Moving to a new school, or up a year at an existing school - with new friends, teachers, subjects, rules and expectation - is a big deal for young people. All of us who are adults remember how daunting it was, but we sometimes take it for granted that children will be able to cope with the change. The truth is, for many young people, the changing schools or starting a new academic year is really difficult to deal with...
Today I celebrate my third Father's Day as a father. For me it is a day not just to celebrate how fortunate I am for my young family, but to reflect on just how much I've learned about fatherhood and the issues facing fathers in all walks of life. In particular, it is a time to reflect on my responsibility to look after not just the physical health of my two children, but to treat their mental needs as just as important a priority... On this Father's Day, I encourage all fathers to take a moment to ask their children how they are doing. Take the opportunity to discuss how you are coping with life and fatherhood with your wife, partner or with your friends. And know that if your son or daughter ever needs help, they need their father's guidance and support just as much as they need their mother's.
I have to admit that at first I worried that technology companies might not be doing enough on this issue. But as I looked into this more, I realised that technology was also doing something positive. It was bringing the quiet and often hidden tragedy of bullying into the open where we could finally see it. To school-age children today, there is no difference between their online and offline lives. Bullying is bullying, wherever it happens... Digital technology is creating new opportunities for positive and encouraging stories to be shared and to let vulnerable people know that they are not alone.
Last week I had a really good chat with several other charity CEOs as we met with their Royal Highnesses, the Duchess and Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry at the launch of the Heads Together campaign at the Queen Elizabeth Park in London.
Certain newspapers are running stories about the Duchess of Cambridge's feet, on display during her tour of India. One has even gone so far as to describe them as: "Corns, clawed toes, bunions and fallen arches."
Personally, I think Wills' best option would be to book himself and the kids into a cage at London zoo for three days a week - it'd be a lot more interesting for the rest of us, and he'd certainly have a deal sight more fun than he does with any of his odious Royal Chores.
This is particularly notable with younger audiences, who have really started to acknowledge the importance of adopting a patient and respectful attitude to mental health issues. This of course has its roots in their family life, education, and popular culture, which have collectively moved forward in a very positive way.
On 17 February, Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Cambridge, will join editors at HuffPost UK as guest editor to specifically help raise awareness of this issue and help us launch Young Minds Matter. Using the hashtag #youngmindsmatter we will discuss the problems, causes and also most importantly the solutions to the stigma surrounding the UK's mental health crisis among children.
Today we're honoured and thrilled to welcome a very special guest editor, Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge. She'll be joining editors at HuffPost UK to launch Young Minds Matter, a new global initiative to raise awareness around mental health and children.
Getting children with mental health and learning disorders noticed and identified is a problem everywhere. And it's a bigger problem for "silent" disorders whose symptoms can be subtle or misidentified.
As a soon to be dad, I'm filled with all the anxieties that most parents face two months before their baby arrives, but with one added caveat - will I be 'good enough'? Most people probably think along these lines but in my case it comes with the added pressure of knowing many of the pitfalls, trials and tribulations related to children's mental health. The one thing that reassures me is knowing that I have learnt more about child well-being from my parents, and those around me, than years of training.
I didn't want to write this as a "ways to cope" post, because what would annoy me the most during the darkest days was advice about what would make me feel better...but ultimately didn't help (yep, lemon tea and ginger biscuits can do one).
In her first ever visit to a prison, the Duchess of Cambridge today visited Send Prison in Surrey to view the RAPT addiction treatment programme. This is a huge honour for us - we are flattered that the Duchess has chosen to come and look at how we help women prisoners to confront and overcome addiction to drugs and alcohol, and to build a positive and crime free life.
Talk. Try to understand what it's like for her. Listen. She might not say much but she is speaking volumes. Be there for her to catch the tears as they fall, her heart as it breaks. Because the day to day agony of HG will end, and the days that follow will be flavoured with the compassion and kindness that you showed her when she was ready to fall.
I'm going to make a sweeping generalisation here, but most new mums I know are not ready to let their new little person out of their sight. Hell it's traumatic leaving them to go for a wee. We check them every two minutes to make sure they are still breathing. There's no way on this earth that you are taking my new-born baby out into the big wide world and away from me.