Royals officially open the Global Academy in support of mental health initiative

Royals at Global Academy

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry officially opened the Global Academy in Hayes in support of Heads Together on 20 April 2017. As well as giving young people a route into the media industry, the Global Academy gives students the practical and technical skills they need to succeed in the real world. This includes encouraging young people to talk about any mental wellbeing issues they may be facing.

During the visit, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry visited the Heart and LBC breakfast shows to see live outside broadcasts in action and meet Global Academy students who were helping to produce the shows as part of their coursework. They also visited classrooms where students were learning about the science of sound, working on a mental wellbeing project, and an audio project using material from EMI’s archives including vinyl recordings of early speeches of the Royal Family.

As part of the visit, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry joined Global breakfast show presenters, Roman Kemp from Capital, Jamie Theakston and Emma Bunton from Heart and Nick Ferrari from LBC, for a discussion on mental wellbeing with students. Speaking with LBC’s Nick Ferrari at today’s event, The Duke of Cambridge, said:

It’s like we’ve taken the lid off a boiling pan. It’s been simmering for a very long time and everyone’s desperate for it to come out. I think it is just providing a mechanism to allow people to say it’s okay to talk about it now, and it’s there, it needs to be talked about, we need to prioritise mental health. Health to all of us is the most important thing really, and happiness, so to stifle it away and not talk about it is not the right thing to do. And we’ve seen the reaction, you have as well Nick, whenever we go around our engagements and stuff like that, everything we go and see, people come back to mental health the whole time and it’s like ‘Why aren’t we talking about it? Why isn’t there a national conversation? Why are we being so, you know, afraid of it?’ Let’s get it out in the open.

The visit finished with a school assembly where Global Academy students presented work on the subject of mental health, and performed in front of Their Royal Highnesses before the Duke of Cambridge officially opened the Global Academy.

Ashley Tabor, founder of Global and the Global Academy, said:

I’m lucky enough to work in one of the most desirable and successful areas of the UK economy, and yet we’re facing a skills shortage and a real lack of diversity. I wanted to find a way to help grow the pool of people coming into the industry, and broaden our ability in the media to better reflect the makeup of the UK. That’s why we started the Global Academy. It offers young people from different walks of life a foot on the ladder, and helps reduce the barriers to entry into the media.

Simon Collins, Global Academy principal, said:

There has never been more pressure on young adults to ‘fit the norm’ – whether that’s posting the perfect picture on social media or creating a different persona online. The Global Academy was created to enable young adults from all backgrounds to learn the skills they need to prosper in an ever changing world. At the Global Academy, we encourage our students to talk, and talk about things that might be considered taboo. We believe that a healthy mind is as important as a healthy body and as important as core educational skills of maths, English and science. The result of that is we are all talking more openly. This is not the easy route and requires a lot more emotional intelligence, helping our students to understand their own, and each other’s emotions but the result is we are all talking more openly. That is one of the many things that makes this a very special place.

The Global Academy’s curriculum includes an hour of mental wellbeing every week, recognising the issue and removing the stigma sometimes associated with mental wellbeing. In a recent report from the NASUWT, 98% of teachers said they’d had contact with students who are experiencing mental health issues notably anxiety, panic attacks, depression, self-harming and eating disorders and 89% of teachers said mental health issues lead to students being unable to concentrate in class.

To declare the Global Academy officially open, at the end of the assembly, The Duke of Cambridge unveiled the original microphone commissioned for his great grandfather, King George VI, on his accession to the throne in 1936 and featured in the film ‘The King’s Speech’.

Heads Together is spearheaded by The Duke and Duchess and Prince Harry, in partnership with eight leading mental health charities. The campaign is highlighting the power of conversations and how being able to talk openly about mental health challenges can be life changing. To mark the event, Global stations LBC and Heart broadcast shows live from the Global Academy.

For more information on the Global Academy, please visit:

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