The Duchess of Cambridge knows that being a mom isn't easy. So when she saw a fellow mother get emotional while watching her son talk about his battle with autism, she felt compelled to comfort her.
“The Duchess just leaned over and said to me ‘I’ve got to give you a hug as a mom,’” Ceri Knapton told reporters. “I couldn’t believe it. It was such a kind gesture.”
Kate Middleton was at a children’s mental health charity event for Place2Be on Tuesday when she spoke with Knapton and her son, Ethan. At the event, the 13-year-old opened up to the Duchess about how he was badly bullied before he was diagnosed with autism and Asperger syndrome three years ago.
“It was a very difficult time but my diagnosis helped me to cope with what I was experiencing,” the teen told the Duchess. “I decided that I wanted to speak out about it. There is no point in sitting back. I'd rather stand up and make a difference.”
The Duchess of Cambridge has tonight attended the Place2Be Wellbeing in Schools Awards. As Patron of the children's mental health charity Place2Be, The Duchess met some incredible children and young people, who have worked not only to overcome challenges themselves, but have also been open about their experiences in the hope of encouraging their peers in school to do the same. HRH also presented the Child Champion and Young Person Champion Award, as well as give a speech. Here The Duchess comforts Ceri Knapton, who was overcome with emotion as she joined her son Ethan Knapton from Forward Academy.
Place2Be’s Wellbeing in Schools Awards was held to recognize children, like Ethan, who have overcome their struggles with mental health and are setting positive examples for their peers.
“We want to end the stigma surrounding mental health that stops people getting the help and support that they so desperately need,” she said, according to the Evening Standard. “I am a firm believer that it is absolutely crucial to confront problems as early as possible, to prevent them from escalating into even greater issues later in life. This is why Place2Be's work – prioritizing children's emotional well-being from the outset – is so important.”
“Without many of the inspiring people gathered here this evening, countless children would not receive the transformational support in their schools,” she continued. “No matter how invincible we seem on the surface, all of us need help from time to time.”
Middleton has always been a huge advocate of children’s mental health. In the past, the mom-of-two has made a number of public speeches to highlight this topic and was a guest editor for The Huffington Post UK series Young Minds Matter.
Most recently, the 34-year-old launched a podcast to combat the stigma surrounding mental health and to provide helpful resources to children and parents alike.
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