Issue 2, Winter 2019

Child Advocate and Parent Supporter -

Discovering the real power of a meaningful voice

By Sue Zange  |  15 Dec 2019  | 
Kate Silverton speaking at this years Mad World Summit, London.

BBC News presenter Kate Silverton is on a new mission, as an ambassador for the well-being and mental health of children and parents. Kate passionately believes that if we care for the health of our children then we will have strong, balanced adults as a result.

As we chat together at this year's popular workplace health forum, Mad World Summit in London, I find Kate to be very kind and engaging. There's a softness and a strength about her that is authentically recognisable. She tells me about her involvement in the mental health awareness campaign and the sense of purpose that is now driving her.

Kate is well skilled to be both an ambassador and a voice for the much needed change in this field. Qualified with a degree in psychology, and being a mother herself, she now believes she is finding a more fulfilling way forward for her work. Having been a speaker within corporate businesses, it became clear to Kate that what we see on the surface from people, is not what is going on inside. She explains, "We need resolution - how can we resolve what it is we are being challenged by. And we need hope in that resolution."

"Purpose is the reason we get out of bed in the morning," says Kate. "We all need to be seen and more importantly, to be heard." She believes it is fundamental for employers to strive for that. "We are a tribal community at the end of the day. If we feel valued in the workplace then we are more content and stronger in approaching any difficulties or stresses."

"Our mental health is a human right - it's not a privilege."

Kate has pursued additional training in order to strengthen the scope of how she can help in this emerging field of much needed awareness. She mentions the BBC's 'Mental Health First Aid' training that she has participated in. "It is very hard to sit with someone else's pain," she says. It is important to recognise that people may bypass, or even ignore friends, family or colleagues, because it's just too difficult to open up the pain and then be witness to that suffering.  

A strong advocate for 'active listening', Kate believes we all have "more power than we think as individuals to help each other". Pondering upon ways to improve both work and home environments, she says, "It is good to talk, but we need strategies of where to go next in order to bring resolution."

There still remains a stigma attached to speaking up about mental health issues. Many fear that it will compromise their career if they reveal their current state. Though 'burnout' is now accepted as a condition, Kate says, "we need sufficiently secure people in the workplace speaking out about it." She considers that the younger generation will be more outspoken on these matters. More and more people now want to know what health and support benefits employers offer, before they accept a position. Employees are looking to be reassured that their emotional, mental and physical wellness is part of the business policy and focus of the company. Kate feels that some of the potential resolution strategies should include a 'personalised plan' which may be tailored to support each individual.

"If we invest in the early years, we get healthy future generations."

Kate is a supporter of the work carried out by John Bowlby during the 1940's, who developed pioneering work in 'attachment theory'. She says, "The secure attachments we form at birth are the biggest indicators of our adult mental health. It’s crucial that we invest in the early years and support parents." It is her commitment to this that is now driving her new endeavours to be an ambassador for child mental healthcare.

Her charitable work is pursuing aims of educating and managing the welfare of both young children and their parents. She works with the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families, and Place2Be - which offers support within schools. She is also actively engaged in assimilating new research from both psychiatry and neuro-science in understanding the brain functions and the mechanism of mental health. Kate recognises that her own unique set of skills allow her to be a valuable voice for information to reach people, with a clear and inspirational message of hope and awareness.

To find out more about Kate’s work, visit  Twitter: @KateSilverton