Kate Middleton makes rare public speech to raise awareness on addiction

WATCH: Kate Middleton discusses why early intervention in mental health, addiction issues is important

Kate Middleton recently spoke out about addiction awareness during a rare public speech.

On Wednesday, the Duchess of Cambridge spoke during an annual gala dinner for Addiction Awareness Week at the Phillips Gallery in London. Dressed in an off-the-shoulder dress by Barbara Casasola, Kate Middleton addressed the crowd, focusing on early intervention.

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, attends the first annual gala dinner in recognition of Addiction Awareness Week. Photo: Getty Images

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, attends the first annual gala dinner in recognition of Addiction Awareness Week. Photo: Getty Images

“In the last few years, I have been focusing on the importance of prevention. How can we all really support the earliest years of life, build foundations and help avoid adversity later on in life?” she said, according to Today.com.

“I’ve seen over and over again that, sadly, the root cause can so often be traced right back to the very earliest years of someone’s life.”

Middleton added that for some, it is not easy to access help.

“Sadly, for many who are suffering with addiction, they just don’t receive the help they need early enough,” she continued.

“They’ve already reached crisis point before they find the support they need.”

Focus on mental health

The Duchess went solo to the event and was joined by Graham Beech, chief executive of Action on Addiction. She is a patron for the U.K.-based charity, which is focused on helping those living with drug and alcohol addiction.

In 2018, the Duchess opened a new treatment centre for the charity in Wickford, Essex, that was aimed at addiction recovery, Hello magazine reported.

During the year, Middleton also joined a roundtable conversation with staff, health-care professionals and other experts before attending a reception.

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The recovery centre, which partnered with the University of Bath, helped train addiction counsellors. During that year, she told graduates: “It’s such a positive story for you all.”

And the Duchess is no stranger to mental-health-focused charities. The 37-year-old has several charity interests under her belt, including a large focus on children’s mental health.

“The Duchess of Cambridge is a committed champion of issues related to children’s mental health and emotional well-being. Her Royal Highness has worked to bring wider public attention to the fact that issues facing children today such as addiction, poverty, abuse, neglect, loss and illness of family members can have a long-lasting and traumatic impact if left unsupported,” the official British Royal Family site notes.

“Moreover, academic research has shown conclusively that early childhood trauma will affect mental health long into adulthood, with significant costs to individuals, their families, society and the economy.”

A week of events

Middleton’s solo gala dinner was just days after the Duchess and her family celebrated Queen Elizabeth II‘s ceremonial birthday.

The Duchess was joined by Prince William, their children, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

READ MORE: Prince Louis wears Prince Harry’s childhood outfit during Queen’s birthday

Prior to her speech, Middleton and Prince William made a visit to Deepdale Hall Farm, a sheep farm in northwest England on Tuesday.

The two spoke to local farmers, tried sheep shearing and went to visit fans at a market.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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