The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visit the Stewards Academy with Heads Together

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As part of their Heads Together campaign, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited Stewards Academy in Harlow, Essex, to find out more about the pressures faced by young people when they are going through big changes in their lives, and learn about the support from peers and parents that can help them get through these changes.

Big changes can affect people’s mental health and wellbeing and in young people can be a trigger for mental health problems. Research shows that a fifth of children will experience a mental health problem by the time they are eleven and that half of the mental health problems suffered by adults are established by the age of 14. Currently less than half of parents talk to their children about mental health. Heads Together is going back to school to show real examples of the value of support from fellow students, teachers and parents in helping young people through these changes.

During their visit to Stewards Academy, Their Royal Highnesses joined a lesson on ‘big change’ run by a small number of students involved with the school’s mentor scheme in which older students support the new joiners in their first year of school. They then joined the school’s assembly where they heard speeches and performances from students on the topic of coping with big changes. The Duke of Cambridge will also make a short speech.

Their Royal Highnesses were escorted by the Academy’s Head Girl and Head Boy as they crossed the school quad which will be filled with pupils. Their Royal Highnesses met with a small number of parents of students from the school to discuss how parents and carers can encourage their children to talk about big changes in their lives. Heads Together will be producing a Back to School guide to help parents have these conversations.

Stewards Academy is one of the schools supported by Place2Be, one of the team of charities brought together for the Heads Together campaign being spearheaded by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry to change the conversation on mental health from shame to support. Place2Be has been an integral part of the support network available to pupils at the Academy for several years.

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