The Duchess of Cambridge has become Patron of the Maternal Mental Health Alliance, a UK-wide charity which brings together over 100 organisations to ensure that women and families affected by perinatal mental health challenges have access to high quality, comprehensive care and support.
The announcement came during Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week [2nd – 8th May] and in a video message marking her new role The Duchess outlined the importance of ensuring that women and families affected by mental health issues both during and after pregnancy are able to reach out for vital support. Working collectively to maximise impact, the Maternal Mental Health Alliance seeks to combine the power of real-life experience with clinical and professional expertise to drive change needed to support the mental health needs of women and their families throughout and beyond pregnancy.
The Duchess’ patronage of the organisation closely aligns with her ongoing work on the importance of early childhood development through The Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood, raising awareness of and promoting collaborative action on the early years in order to transform society for generations to come. This includes the crucial need to ensure that the wellbeing of parents and families are properly supported, and that help is available whenever and wherever it is needed most.
Luciana Berger, Chair of the Maternal Mental Health Alliance said:
“The Maternal Mental Health Alliance is honoured and delighted that The Duchess of Cambridge has recognised and chosen to support our work by becoming our Royal Patron. 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.”
Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week was first launched in 2017 by the Perinatal Mental Health Partnership UK (PMHP UK), a member organisation of the Maternal Mental Health Alliance. It aims to raise awareness of perinatal mental health issues, advocating for all women affected by them, changing attitudes, and helping families access the information, care and support they need to recover.
Around 1 in 5 women in the UK are reported to experience a mental health issue during pregnancy or in the first years after giving birth1, and 70% of women are thought to hide or underplay their illnesses surrounding pregnancy2.
The theme of this year’s Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week is ‘The Power of Connection’ and focusses on the importance of connecting communities, and ensuring that mothers and families are signposted to services and support, both virtually and in-person, in order to enable their recovery.
1 Howard LM, Molyneaux E, Dennis CL, Rochat T, Stein A, Milgrom J. Nonpsychotic mental disorders in the perinatal period. The Lancet. 2014;384:1775-88.
2 Perinatal Mental Health Experiences of Women and Health Professionals - Boots Family Trust Alliance