No mother is “immune to experiencing anxiety and depression”, the Duchess of Cambridge has said in a video announcing her new role as patron of a network supporting women and families.
In the short film, Kate said it is crucial that those “struggling” are given the “right support at the right time”.
She also urged society to play its part, saying everyone needs to help “parents and carers, and all those who are raising children today”.
Kate’s message was recorded to announce her patronage of the Maternal Mental Health Alliance (MMHA), and to mark Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week, which ends on Sunday.
The MMHA is a network of more than 100 organisations supporting women and families affected by perinatal mental problems.
Talking about the scale of the issue, Kate said: “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 [new and expectant mums] 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 has launched the Everyone’s Business campaign, which calls for all women in the UK who experience mental health problems before, during and after pregnancy to receive the care and support their families need.
Through her royal work Kate has already made it clear how committed she is to the topic.
The development of children during their early years is one of the main pillars of her public role, and her latest patronage complements the work she is trying to do through her Royal Foundation Centre For Early Childhood.
Luciana Berger, chair of the MMHA which was founded in 2011, said the organisation is “honoured” Kate has become their patron.
She added: “The duchess’s 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.”