The Princess of Wales visited Dame Kelly Holmes Trust in Bath and met with some of the young people that the charity supports to mark Mental Health Awareness Week.

Dame Kelly Holmes Trust is a youth development charity founded on the belief that every young person needs a champion. The organisation puts world class athletes shoulder to shoulder with young people to pass on their winning mindset and provide coaching and mentoring, helping those who are facing adversity to develop the skills and confidence they need to succeed in education, work and life. The Trust delivers a range of wellbeing programmes within education, community and children’s hospital settings such as the On Track To Achieve programme within schools which is targeted towards 11-19 year olds, including those with social, emotional or mental health challenges, or children who would benefit from the support of a positive role model to achieve their potential.

During her visit, The Princess spent time with students from St Katherine’s School in Bristol who are taking part in the On Track To Achieve programme, delivered by their athlete mentor, Paralympic gold medallist Liz Johnson. Her Royal Highness heard from the pupils about their personal experiences and some of the challenges that young people face today, and how working with an athlete mentor has supported them to better express their emotions, build resilience, and promote positive mental health and wellbeing. Dame Kelly Holmes, the charity’s President and Founder, also spoke about her own experiences and how they inspired her to set up the charity in 200

Her Royal Highness was joined on her visit to the Trust by presenter, documentary maker and mental health advocate, Zara McDermott, who is one of the Shaping Us campaign champions. The campaign aims to raise public awareness of the crucial importance of the first five years of a child’s life, during which time our brains develop faster than any other time of our lives. Our experiences, relationships, and surroundings at that very young age, lay the foundations for the rest of our lives which is why building a supportive nurturing world around children and their carers is so important.

But not everyone has positive experiences during this time and crucially it is never too late to make a difference. Adolescence is another period of significant development, and a person’s teenage years represents another key time during which the right support can create lasting positive change. Supporting young people to be able to learn how to express, understand and manage emotions, as well as responding to others’ feelings and needs, can help to build meaningful and lasting relationships, and develop self-confidence to cope with life’s challenges.

The Princess of Wales has long been a champion of prioritising mental wellbeing, including that of children and young people. Her Royal Highness has dedicated her time to supporting various mental health programmes, such as the launch of Heads Together, Shout 85258, and the Mentally Healthy Schools programme. She is also patron of a number of charities which are focussed on promoting and providing mental health support to those in need.

Find out more about Shaping Us