May 3, 2020 / 8:26 AM / 23 days ago

Kate calls midwives and parents to highlight mental health issues

LONDON (Reuters) - British royal Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, has video-called a number of new parents, midwives and other maternity service professionals to promote her message of mental health awareness during the coronavirus pandemic.

FILE PHOTO: Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, visits a National Portrait Gallery workshop at Evelina London Children's Hospital, in London, Britain, January 28, 2020. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo

In a video posted on Twitter by Kensington Palace, the residence and office of Kate and her husband Prince William, the mother-of-three could be seen chatting via video-link with a woman who had given birth the night before, a midwife, and various others.

“As organisations you’re playing such a vital role, giving key information, you’re hugely trusted by the public in general, and therefore the information that you provide is a lifeline to many people at this time,” Kate told professionals from not-for-profit mental health organisations on a group call.

The video was issued to mark Britain’s Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week.

In a separate snippet, Kate could be seen chatting with a new mother on her hospital bed, congratulating her on the birth of her son and acknowledging the strangeness of having the conversation via video-link due to social distancing measures.

“This is definitely a first,” she said, laughing along with the new mother.

A midwife also appeared from a hospital ward on the video-montage, asking whether Kate could tell that she was smiling underneath her protective face mask. “With your eyes, yes I can,” the duchess replied.

Kate and William have long campaigned to raise awareness of mental health issues. Last week, the couple launched a new service called OurFrontline, which provides round-the-clock mental health support to key workers involved in the response to the coronavirus crisis.

William’s grandmother, 94-year-old Queen Elizabeth, has issued a number of rallying messages to the nation since it went into lockdown in March, including a televised address that was only the fifth of her 68-year reign.

More than 28,000 people have died of COVID-19 across the United Kingdom.

Reporting by Estelle Shirbon;Editing by Elaine Hardcastle

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