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The Duchess of Cambridge visits University of Derby

University of Derby, Richard Richards Photography.

The Duchess of Cambridge visited the University of Derby on October 6th to chat with students about mental health and the support they receive on campus throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kate’s visit comes just before World Mental Health Day on Saturday and saw her discussing mental health with university staff and students as well as hearing how Student Minds, a student-based mental health charity, is working with the university to provide greater support and access to students.

“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,” said Gareth Hughes, Clinical Lead for Student Minds at the University.

Hughes hosted Kate during her visit to the University, accompanying her as she met with staff and students with Students Minds, chatted with first-year students to talk about the transition to higher learning during a pandemic, and visiting a mock nursing centre to see how nursing students offer each other peer to peer mentoring support.

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The Duchess’s visit also included a stop at the sports centre to meet with the university’s Student Union President and its Sports Societies members to hear about how sports have helped students with their mental health.

Kate was also there to discuss a new online mental health support system for students, Student Space, which provides resources to students and is supported by Student Minds, the Office for Students and the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales.

“We have worked hard to develop our whole university approach,” said Hughes, “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.”

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The Duchess of Cambridge asked first-year students if they felt that the university had provided them with enough support, and they told her that “there’s so much support.” Kate replied, “That’s great to hear,” and she also said how happy she was that mental health had been folded so thoroughly into university life there.

The University of Derby’s Vice-Chancellor, 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.”

About author

Jess is a communications professional and freelance writer who lives in Halifax and has a passion for all things royal, particularly the British Royal Family.