The Duchess of Cambridge has topped a list of “health heroes” for her work championing children’s mental health.
Kate was praised for her willingness to speak out on a subject that for decades has suffered taboo status and continues to be under-resourced by the NHS.
Others commended by the MyHealthLondon website included the rapper Professor Green, who publicly revealed the truth about his father’s suicide to highlight the number of young men taking their own lives, and Ebola doctor Michael Jacobs, who led the Royal Free hospital team that saved three UK nurses from the killer virus.
Kate is patron of the Place2Be charity, which does early-intervention work in schools, and this year visited the Bethlem and Maudsley Hospital School in Beckenham and the Anna Freud Centre in Hampstead (pictured above) to show her support for children receiving treatment. She has also helped to raise funds for Place2Be.
Speaking at a Place2Be conference last month, Kate said: “Since beginning my work in areas like addiction, I have seen time and time again the roots of poor mental health in adulthood are almost always present in unresolved childhood challenges.”
She criticised the modern-day focus on “material and social concerns” when children needed “time, attention and love”. She said: “Even those from stable, happy homes are finding that their heads are just too full. It’s our duty as parents and teachers to give all children the space to build their emotional strength and provide a strong foundation for the future.”
A panel of health professionals drew up its top 10 health heroes in recognition of their work raising awareness and influencing health in 2015. The candidates were chosen based on online searches, social media trends and top health stories of the year.
Second place was taken by Dr Kate Granger, who devised the “Hello my name is” campaign to encourage NHS staff to introduce themselves to patients while she was being treated for cancer.
Dr Jacobs, who with colleagues twice saved the life of Pauline Cafferkey, as well as the lives of Will Pooley and Anna Cross, came third. Fourth was Jane Sutton, who continued to raise funds for cancer research after the death of her teenage son Stephen Sutton, himself a prolific charity fundraiser.
Others in the top 10 were chef Jamie Oliver, health campaigner Roy Lilley, TV doctor Christian Jessen, the creators of the healthy eating website Checkyourfood.com and the psychologist and radio presenter Claudia Hammond, for her work on mental health.
A MyHealthLondon spokesman said: “The Duchess of Cambridge has spent most of her time this year championing children’s mental health, giving spotlight to fantastic organisations such as the Anna Freud Centre, while Professor Green has pushed for more open discussion around mental health in men, speaking candidly about the impact of his father’s suicide.
“Doctor Kate Granger’s ‘Hello my name is’ campaign has won widespread admiration from within the NHS, endorsed by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, while Doctor Michael Jacobs has led the country’s work with Ebola patients at the Royal Free.
“Jamie Oliver has continued to educate people about the levels of sugar in food, while the creators of Checkyourfood.com have given individuals a place to learn more about what they’re actually eating.”