You may remember that at the end of January, our nine-year-old daughter, Joanna, wrote to The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry to ask if Heads Together would address the issue of adoptive children’s mental health. You can read that letter here. On Saturday she had a reply from Kensington Palace. She was out when it arrived so we waited for her to come home before we opened it and read it together. (This took no small measure of self-restraint!)
I’ll be honest: although Joanna was delighted just to have a letter from the palace, me and Pete found it disappointing. There are a few turns of phrase that indicate a lack of understanding about adoption and the ongoing impact of trauma. (I don’t expect expertise from every member of their staff, but mental health is the younger Royals’ chosen area of focus.) It also doesn’t really address the issue of why Heads Together can’t join the conversation on this topic as they are drawing attention and resources to the issues of mental health in schools, PTSD in the military and post-natal depression, for example.
See what you think…
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Henry of Wales have asked me to write and thank you for your letter of 27th January.
Their Royal Highnesses were grateful to you for taking the time to wrote and for so bravely sharing your experiences with them. The Duke and Duchess and the Prince were saddened to learn all that you have gone through, but are pleased that you have found a lovely family to live with.
Their Royal Highnesses’ Heads Together campaign is made up of various organisations so the campaign itself is unable to help directly. May I suggest contacting The Mix on 0808 808 1994 or Young Minds on 020 7089 5050 for guidance and support? I am sorry that we are not able to help further, but do hope that either of these organisations will be able to provide you with the appropriate help that you need.
This comes with my very best wishes to you and your family.
Assistant Private Secretary to HRH The Duchess of Cambridge
Still hoping for change
It’s not that I expect the Royal Family to wave a magic wand at everything and make it all better, but when they are active in campaigning on mental health issues and Joanna’s letter related to that, I just hoped for something a bit better than a couple of phone numbers.
Pete described ‘I am sorry that we are not able to help further’ as the refrain of Joanna’s life, which I think sums things up well.
I’d love to see Heads Together include adoptive families’ mental health among the issues for which they campaign, and I’m still hoping the Royal Family might come to play a part in that.
What’s your opinion?
I’d love to hear what you think. Are my expectations too high? What would you have said if you’d been writing a response to Joanna? Do you have better advice for her? Any other thoughts? Let me know in the comments, and to discuss it with your friends, use the sharing buttons below.