Prince Harry speaks out on pandemic mental health as he backs children’s charity

Prince Harry has spoken out about the nation's mental health during the coronavirus pandemic in an emotive letter as he gave his backing to a children's charity.

Harry is the patron for WellChild, a charity that supports seriously ill young people, and wrote to families they support as part of their impact report for 2020.

The report also draws attention to the colossal strain the coronavirus crisis has taken on mental health for children, families, and medical staff.

A nurse who works for WellChild wrote in the report: "This has been the hardest and saddest of years for lots of NHS workers, but on the days I myself am feeling low and miss my friends and family, I remind myself of the daily challenges our children and young people with complex health needs and their families face.

"How hard has life been for them this year without the normality of school, carers and respite to support them? And so I am completely humbled and it has been an absolute privilege to be able to offer them my support."

Established in 1977 under the name 'Kidney', WellChild was set up to provide a national network of nurses specialising in caring for children.

They help families with children who have complex care needs so that they can receive the support they need at home and not be reliant on hospital to receive their day-to-day care.

Last year in response to the coronavirus pandemic, the charity also began to provide support for isolating families who do not have access to the digital resources they need for children to attend school from isolation.

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In a letter attached to the impact report, Harry wrote: "I am incredibly proud to say that WellChild has moved with urgency and purpose to tackle the new challenges that children with complex needs and their families have faced because of this crisis.

"Life for everyone has been tough. For these families, it has been tougher than most of us can imagine."

He added: "As we continue to battle this health crisis, the existing needs of vulnerable children should not be forgotten.

"WellChild is a lifeline for so many people and has had to redirect many of its funding resources during the pandemic.

"We must make sure that young people with serious health conditions continue to receive the support they need as we recover, rebuild, and work to return to normal life."

According to the report, in 2020 WellChild provided over 289,000 pieces of personal protective equipment to allow carers to safely visit families and provide the support they need.

WellChild continued to offer support despite losing 60% of its projected income in 2020 from the cancelled fundraiser events and increasing financial constraints.

The Duke of Sussex has been involved with the charity since 2007.

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