Mental Health

Kate Middleton on the need for a more nurturing society

Posted by
Helen Bownass
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The Duchess of Cambridge announced the results of a major new study and talked about the importance of coming together. 

Since March, when the coronavirus first began to touch our daily lives, the impact it might have on our mental wellbeing, as well as our physical wellbeing, has been one of our biggest concerns. And a huge new study on the early years, spearheaded by Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, has revealed some significant results. 

The survey on the vital importance of our early years in shaping the rest of our adulthood was completed by over half a million people in the UK. And something we found particularly noteworthy is that over a third of people surveyed (37%) think the coronavirus pandemic will have a negative impact on their long-term mental health

And it has a particular effect on women, with 40% of women and 43% of those who have been through financial difficulties during this time, especially likely to report a negative impact. 

The Duchess of Cambridge revels the results of the 5 Big Questions on the Under Fives
The Duchess of Cambridge revels the results of the 5 Big Questions on the Under Fives

The research also discovered that a staggering 63% of parents reported feelings of loneliness due to the pandemic (an increase from an already high 38%) as they have been unable to see friends and family due to restrictions, with 13% of parents living in deprived areas now saying they feel lonely often or always. 

But not all the results were cause for concern. Across the country, 40% of people said they believe community support has grown substantially during the pandemic.

“We must do all we can to tackle these issues and to elevate the importance of the early years, so that together we can build a more nurturing society,” the Duchess said when talking about the ambitious piece of research.

Over the last decade I have met people from all walks of life. I have seen that experiences such as homelessness, addiction, and poor mental health are often grounded in a difficult childhood. But I have also seen how positive protective factors in the early years can play a crucial role in shaping our future. The early years are not simply about how we raise our children. They are in fact about how we raise the next generation of adults. They are about the society we will become.”

The duchess now plans to use these findings from her 5 Big Questions on the Under Fives to shape her future work and look at how childhood impacts the adults we grow into, which is crucial for all of us, regardless of our relationship status. 

Coping with loneliness

If you’re feeling lonely at the moment, it’s important to understand that you’re not alone. The coronavirus pandemic has left many people feeling isolated – but reaching out and talking about how you’re feeling can make a difference. To find out more about coping with loneliness during this time, you can check out these three articles:

There are 4 types of loneliness. Here’s how to beat them

We need to talk about loneliness while working from home

Feeling lonely? Here’s how to tell when you’re struggling (and what to do about it)

For more information on taking care of your mental health during the second lockdown, you can check out our guide.

If you, or someone you know, is struggling with loneliness, you can find support and resources on the mental health charity Mind’s website and NHS Every Mind Matters or access the NHS’ list of mental health helplines and organisations here.

If you are struggling with your mental health as a result of loneliness, you can also ask your GP for a referral to NHS Talking Therapies, or you can self-refer.

For confidential support, you can also call the Samaritans in the UK on 116 123 or email

Images: Kensington Palace, Instagram