The Duchess of Cambridge is set to meet headteachers from across the country next week, in a bid to raise awareness of young people’s mental health issues.
Kate will spend Wednesday at the Place2Be Headteacher’s Conference in her capacity as the charity’s Patron. The event, taking place at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch offices in London, will focus on what schools can do to tackle mental health problems early in life.
Mental health has been a rising concern for schools in recent months. Earlier this year, over 65% of school heads said they were worried about their pupils’s mental health – a sharp increase from the 14% figure last year.
The Duchess, who has made the topic a key priority in her work, visited Dundee with Prince William last month and met with Scottish groups working to end mental health discrimination.
Next week, Kate will sit down with school leaders to discuss what they can do to help increase their students’s emotional resilience and what support is available for problems if and when they arise.
This year’s conference, called ‘My Head is Too Full’, will see headteachers from schools in the UK’s most disadvantaged areas speak about the impacts of addictions.
Action on Addiction, another of Kate’s patronages, has been working with Place2Be and child psychologists to support families dealing with the harm caused by drugs and alcohol and the conference will share ideas on how to help give children the best chance to achieve their full potential.
Kate will also speak with students from Stewards Academy, Harlow to get their thoughts on young people’s emotional wellbeing, before seeing children from Croydon’s Crescent Primary School perform a drama on leadership.
Previously, the Duchess has criticised the stigma surrounding mental health issues. In a Place2Be video in February, she said children’s mental health is “just as important as their physical health and deserves the same quality of support.”
A government report, released in April, now recommends schools should see what local help is available for students and “intervene early to support pupils experiencing difficulties.” It also says working with parents and carers, as well as with the pupils themselves, is a key step in ensuring good mental health.