Duchess Catherine has called on more awareness to be made about help which can be given to new mothers affected by mental health illnesses.

Duchess Catherine at Bethlem Royal Hospital (c) Kensington Palace

Duchess Catherine at Bethlem Royal Hospital (c) Kensington Palace

The 36-year-old royal - who is expecting her third child in April - visited a mother and baby unit at Bethlem Royal Hospital in London on Wednesday (24.01.18), where she attended a meeting with midwives, community nurses and health visitors.

According to the Daily Mail newspaper, she said: "There's an expectation you're going to be super happy all the time, and one in four of us aren't.

"These statistics are there, the research is there, but actually it's getting the awareness out there for mothers to take it [help]."

At the meeting, it was heard that research had found one in four perinatal women experience some form of mental health issue.

Dr Gertrude Seneviratne, chair of the Royal College of Psychiatrists' Perinatal Faculty, admitted staff and patients were delighted the Duchess of Cambridge - who has kids Prince George, four, and two-year-old Princess Charlotte with husband Prince William, 35 - was able to meet with them.

She said: "The arrival of a baby should be the happiest time in a woman's life, but for some women this is not the case - our research shows that one in four women experience mental health problems during pregnancy or shortly after the baby is born.

"Mothers often arrive here in much mental distress, feeling that they can't do things for themselves, but by keeping mother and baby together and providing a range of specialist treatment and therapy, women do recover and can bond with their child.

"Today is a very special occasion for us. It means a great deal to staff and patients that the duchess was able to spend some time meeting them - especially as she is a mother herself."

TV Presenter & Life Coach, Anna Williamson

''As a new mother who experienced crippling post natal depression and anxiety, and as a mental health campaigner, it is encouraging that the Duchess is using her own position as a mum to highlight the very real issues surrounding mothers mental health. The statistics are on the rise and many new parents are struggling in silence, embarrassed or unsure of what help to ask for. Telling new mums that it's ok to ask for help, educating them that early intervention is better than letting things escalate over time, and reassuring them that the baby will not be taken away, is key for all families mental and the emotional well being.''