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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge support Every Mind Matters and chair mental health roundtable call

Our CEO, Peter Fonagy, joined a mental health roundtable call with The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and other mental health charities to discuss the support needed now and in the future due to coronavirus.

The Duke of Cambridge and The Duchess of Cambridge are supporting Public Health England’s Every Mind Matters platform by voicing a new film to signpost people to NHS expert tips and advice around mental health and wellbeing during the coronavirus pandemic. This follows Their Royal Highnesses chairing a roundtable call with experts from leading mental health charities in the UK including Anna Freud Centre’s Chief Executive Peter Fonagy to discuss the sector’s response to COVID-19. HRH The Duchess of Cambridge is Patron of The Anna Freud Centre.

The Every Mind Matters platform includes a tailored COVID-19 Mind Plan, COVID-19 specific content for individuals and their loved ones, and support for specific mental wellbeing issues such as anxiety, stress, low mood and trouble sleeping. To help get this vital message out there, The Duke and Duchess have narrated a new short film, which is set to be broadcast across national TV channels from Monday 20th April.

Voicing the film, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, said: “All over the country people are staying at home to protect the NHS and save lives. It’s not always easy. We can feel frustrated, miss loved ones or get anxious. So now, more than ever, Every Mind Matters. There are things we can all do to look after our mental wellbeing at this time. Every Mind Matters can help get you started with your NHS online plan. Showing you simple steps to help deal with stress, boost your mood and feel on top of things. Search Every Mind Matters to get your action plan today. We’re in this together.”

The film comes as new data shows that over 4 in 5 (85.2%) British people are worried about the effect that coronavirus is having on their life, with over half (53.1%) saying it was affecting their well-being and nearly half (46.9%) reporting high levels of anxiety[i]. With many feeling worried, anxious or isolated during these challenging times, Every Mind Matters highlights there are lots of things we can all do to look after our mental wellbeing and support others, to prevent these concerns from becoming more serious.

Peter Fonagy, Chief Executive at the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families warmly welcomed the initiative from their Royal Highnesses, adding: “There’s never been a more important time to acknowledge the need for us to address the scale of mental health needs. The peak of the crisis in mental health, depression, anxiety and PTSD will come months after the coronavirus infections have subsided. Continued kindness and compassion will help us all to overcome the impact of traumatic experiences and losses, and will enable us energise our communities to reach out and provide the best support we can give to children, young people and their families.”

Many of the charities reported an increase in the numbers of people reaching out for information and seeking help for their own mental health, indicating that the importance of good mental health is now becoming a prominent issue in the public consciousness. The Anna Freud Centre’s Self Care tools, aimed primarily at young people aged 12-25, have reported a 567% increase in interest since lockdown.

Those who joined the roundtable included:

  • Peter Fonagy, CEO of the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families
  • Paul Farmer, CEO of Mind
  • Simon Gunning, CEO of CALM
  • Alison Baum, CEO of Best Beginnings
  • Dr Charles Winstanley, Chair of Contact Group
  • Emma Thomas, CEO of Young Minds
  • Chris Martin, CEO of The Mix
  • Graham Beech, CEO of Action on Addiction
  • Victoria Hornby, CEO of Mental Health Innovations
  • Catherine Roche, CEO of Place2Be

During the call, participants discussed the mental health issues that are arising as a result of the pandemic and highlighted that many of the practical issues that people are facing can also be risk factors for mental health. They agreed that the sector must continue to look at ways to work together to ensure that people are equipped to support their family and friends during these difficult times, and to have conversations about their mental health both during and after the pandemic which they anticipate will have vast and complicated long-term consequences for mental health.


[i] [i] ONS: Coronavirus and the social impacts on Great Britain. 16 April 2020: