Ahead of the World Mental Health Day this Saturday, The Duchess of Cambridge visited students at Derby University to hear how the pandemic has impacted university life, and what national measures have been put in place to support student mental health. The Duchess of Cambridge has been championing the cause for a long time. The visit highlighted the work of the UK’s student mental health charity Student Minds.
Upon arrival at the University, The Duchess of Cambridge was welcomed by the Lord-Lieutenant of Derbyshire, Elizabeth Fothergill CBE, to the University. The Duchess met with the University’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Kathryn Mitchell DL, Gareth Hughes – the University’s Psychotherapist Research Lead for Student Minds, Rosie Tressler OBE – CEO of Student Minds, representatives from Student Minds and staff from Student Wellbeing at the University of Derby. About the Royal visit, Professor Kathryn Mitchell DL said,
“We are honoured to have been able to welcome Her Royal Highness to the University of Derby and extremely proud to be recognised for the work the University is doing to support student mental health, particularly during these challenging times. Our commitment to mental health extends beyond the University and into the local community, with initiatives to improve mental health in schools and local businesses, and is something we place great importance on.”
Student Minds was established with the aim to approach the various issues students face during their college and university lives. They provide additional support via Student Space, a new online resource created to support student mental health, provided by Student Minds and funded by the Office for Students and the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales. The Student Space programme provides help through email, text, phone and webchat. The text service is delivered in partnership with the Royal Foundation’s Shout initiative – a Heads Together legacy project. Visit Student Minds and Student Space that provides great resources to handle student life issues impacting mental health.
The Duchess of Cambridge during the visit learnt more about it and also discussed the impact of the pandemic on students, the reality of supporting student mental health and the response of the University sector nationally to student mental health. Gareth Hughes said,
“Student mental health is a significant issue in higher education and the University of Derby is proud of its reputation as being at the forefront of supporting and improving student mental health. We have worked hard to develop our whole university approach, taking proactive steps to develop students’ ability to maintain and improve their own wellbeing and creating a learning environment that is inclusive and supportive for our students.”
The Duchess of Cambridge also met with the first-year students and heard about their experience of transitioning into higher education.
From Hello!’s report,
The students’ Kate met told her about the importance of sport for their mental wellbeing, with the Duchess adding: “Particularly when it’s outdoors as it hasn’t got any restrictions to it.” The Duchess of Cambridge asked them: “Is it really weird not being in lectures?” One student said they were enjoying the change, but added it was “difficult not learning face-to-face”. Kate told the students: “You’re doing very well”. She told the students she “loved” how mental health work had been “integrated” into university life in Derby.’
Catherine took part in the University’s mock nursing ward where nursing students and programme staff gave The Duchess an insight into the University’s peer mentoring system – a ‘buddy system’ where nursing students are offered additional advice and support from students in other years at the University.
In addition to the work the University has done for its own students, it has been involved in national initiatives to improve the mental health of students across the sector. This includes supporting the development of The Wellbeing Thesis (a project is to meet the need for more preventative means to improve mental health among postgraduate students) and the University Mental Health Charter (which Student Minds is responsible for), both of which are run by Student Minds. Rosie Tressler OBE, CEO of Student Minds, added,
“Due to the pandemic, 2020 has arguably been the most unusual and challenging start to university life that any cohort of students has had in recent times. It’s therefore clear that this year students will benefit from access to additional guidance and support. This is why we created Student Space, a trusted student-focused place for students to access mental health resources, including a direct helpline, 24/7 text support and local university support information to help students easily navigate the wealth of support available to them.
At Student Minds, we want to do everything we can alongside the range of services in the higher education sector and the NHS to ease the pressure and help students create memories and skills that will last a lifetime.”
The visit concluded at the University’s Sports Centre, where the Duchess met with the President of the Union of Students, Corey Beck, and members of the Union’s Sports Societies to discuss the Peer Assisted Learning Scheme and how sport has helped them and their mental wellbeing. The visit highlighted many different support systems available for students. Student life is a very challenging and crucial part of our life and it’s good to see that there are many resources out there to help students guide through this period.
A video of the day.
The Duchess of Cambridge chose a very smart autumn look for the day. Catherine wore a new Massimo Dutti coat and a knit. Massimo Dutti has slowly but surely made a great spot for itself in the Duchess of Cambridge’s wardrobe with a great collection of workwear and casuals. The Spanish brand is one of Spanish Queen Letizia’s go-to labels.
Today, The Duchess of Cambridge debuted Massimo Dutti Handcrafted Checked Wool Coat. Thanks to Kayla Adams on Twitter for the id.
Underneath the coat, Catherine was wearing Massimo Dutti’s 100% cashmere crew neck sweater. The Duchess of Cambridge paired the sweater with a Black ankle-length trouser that are still unidentified. Katie on Twitter suggested that it could be Joseph’s Coleman Light Wool Suiting Trousers but we are not sure yet. I will update the post if we get any informaiton.
Catherine paired the look with her Gianvito Rossi Piper 85 suede pumps.
The Duchess wore herAll The Falling Stars Gold Disc Circle Earrings and
She also brought back her Halcyon Days Gold Plated Maya Torque Bracelet in Aquamarine.
Catherine wore Amaia Kids Adult Reusable cotton Katie&Millie face mask. Thanks to Kate’s Royal Closet on Twitter for the id.