- Kate Middleton visited the University of Derby in Derby, England, on Tuesday.
- The Duchess of Cambridge's visit coincided with World Mental Health Day.
- At the university, she met with students and faculty to learn about how the coronavirus has impacted students' mental health and wellbeing.
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On Tuesday, Kate Middleton visited the University of Derby in Derby, England. Her goal: To gain insight into how the novel coronavirus is impacting student mental health and wellbeing.
Throughout the visit, the Duchess of Cambridge met with faculty, staff, and students to learn about mental health resources the school and country are providing.
Middleton's trip coincided with the World Mental Health Day, which takes place this Saturday.
The purpose of the trip was to look at how the pandemic has impacted students' mental health
Throughout the day, the duchess met with students and campus leaders to explore how the coronavirus is impacting students' mental health and wellbeing.
But Middleton was also there to explore how the university is supporting its students.
One example is through Student Minds, the UK's student mental health charity. The organization's mission is to "empower students and members of the university community to develop the knowledge, confidence, and skills to look after their own mental health, support others, and create change."
The organization shared that the current pandemic has both intensified student mental health challenges and created new ones. Not only are students facing the traditional challenges of adapting to college, but the pandemic has created added pressures, such as loneliness, isolation, financial stress, and difficulties accessing care.
The university has added programs designed to mitigate those challenges. For example, Student Spaces helps students find mental health support through online pathways, like texting, calling, emailing, or video chatting. Middleton saw those resources firsthand throughout her visit.
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Ahead of #WorldMentalHealthDay this Saturday, The Duchess of Cambridge visited students at @DerbyUni to hear how initiatives including peer mentoring are supporting students’ mental health during the pandemic. @studentmindsorg, the UK’s student mental health charity, say that the coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated existing challenges facing student mental health, in addition to creating new ones. Even before the onset of COVID-19, both the severity and prevalence of common mental health conditions experienced by young adults was on the increase. However, like the sports societies and nursing students here at Derby, universities are continuing to explore new ways to support their wellbeing. Students across England and Wales now have access to trusted support through the coronavirus pandemic via @studentmindsorg Student Space, a programme that helps students to find support that is available locally at their university, in addition to providing online resources and direct support by phone and text. The 24/7 text support available via Student Space ? is delivered in partnership with @GiveUsAShoutInsta, a legacy initiative from the Heads Together campaign and was incubated by The Royal Foundation ahead of its launch in 2019.
"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," Gareth Hughes, the clinical lead for Student Minds, said in a statement shared on the University of Derby's website.
The duchess met with first-year students during her visit
Not only did Middleton meet with campus administrators and leaders, but she also sat down with students to learn their perspective.
After learning how first-year students are adapting to college, she met with nursing students and athletes to learn how peer mentoring and an active lifestyle have helped them.
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Today we were delighted to be joined by The Duchess of Cambridge @kensingtonroyal at @derbyuni. Her Royal Highness took time to understand and listen to a range of students and staff to find out their experiences of university life during the pandemic. We were thrilled to champion students' experiences and our CEO Rosie shared the importance of supporting student mental health right now, including the additional support that we are providing through #StudentSpace. We also reflected on the need to continue to support universities to create whole-university approaches to mental health through the #UniMentalHealthCharter. Find out more in the link in our bio ? . . . . . #UniversityLife #CoronavirusMentalHealth #StudentLife #MentalHealth #BackToUni #Freshers #University #MentalHealthMatters #StudentLockdown ? Richard Richards
"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," Rosie Tressler, the CEO of Student Minds, said in a statement.
Representatives for Kensington Palace did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.
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