Our Patron

Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge is a Patron of the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families. Her Royal Highness became our Patron early in 2016, and the position marks her continued dedication to promoting mental wellbeing, in particular among young people.

We are proud that HRH The Duchess of Cambridge supports our vision and work towards a step-change to radically improve the state of children’s mental healthcare in England. Peter Fonagy, Chief Executive of the Centre said:

“It is my hope that Her Royal Highness’s work in this field will serve as a catalyst for all and that we are able to achieve the quality of care that children and their families so richly deserve.”

As a practical step towards our vision, the Centre is developing a new Centre of Excellence in King’s Cross, London. This will bring together the best people and organisations in neuroscience, mental health and education to deliver better mental health services on a local, national and international level.

Last year HRH The Duchess of Cambridge visited the Centre’s proposed central London site to view plans for the Centre of Excellence. During the visit Her Royal Highness also met with families attending our Family School, which is an alternative provision school for pupils aged 5-14 who have been excluded or are at risk of exclusion from mainstream education due to serious emotional and behavioural issues, and their families. The Family School combines high quality teaching and learning with a mental health curriculum in a non-stigmatising environment and will be at the heart of the planned Centre of Excellence.

HRH The Duchess of Cambridge is also spearheading the Heads Together campaign alongside HRH The Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry. Heads Together is a mental health campaign led by The Royal Foundation in partnership with the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families and seven other charities. It aims to change the national conversation on mental health and wellbeing, by tackling stigma, raising awareness and providing vital help for people with mental health issues.

Her Royal Highness also supports the Centre’s Child in Mindpodcast series that help parents understand and manage child and family mental health problems. In each 20-minute episode, BBC Radio 4 presenter Claudia Hammond discusses an important issue in child and family mental health with an expert and a young person or parent. HRH The Duchess of Cambridge said:

"I hope that this excellent series of podcasts […] will go some way to help families overcome that fear of what happens next if they look for professional support. They illustrate that many of the therapies are actually very simple and practical steps that include the whole family to help children make sense of the world around them. They show how with the right help, children have a good chance of overcoming their issues while they are still young, and can have the bright future they deserve.”

We are delighted and honoured that HRH the Duchess of Cambridge is our Patron, and we are excited to see how collectively, and collaboratively, we can continue to drive an evidence-based progression in mental health service delivery across the nation to better support our young people.