Duke and Duchess of Cambridge hear about Sheffield school's work around mental health

Tapton School assistant headteacher Steve Rippon and pupil Lara Ferguson
Tapton School assistant headteacher Steve Rippon and pupil Lara Ferguson

Work at a Sheffield school around raising awareness of mental health in youngsters has been highlighted to the royal family.

Tapton School's assistant headteacher Steve Rippon visited Buckingham Palace on World Mental Health Day to speak to the Duchess of Cambridge about the work the school has been doing.

The school, in Crosspool, has been involved in a national pilot to foster links between schools and Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, which is being rolled out to 40 schools across Sheffield.

Sixth form pupil Lara Ferguson also attended the reception on October 10, and spoke to Prince William about her work on improving mental health for young people.

Mr Rippon said: "It was a fantastic day. For the work I have been doing to be recognised and to get an invite on World Mental Health Day was amazing.

"To find out when I arrived that I was one of a very select few to be asked to meet and speak with Kate about the work we have been doing at Tapton was humbling but great to sing about all the work that we are doing championing mental health and wellbeing."

Steve Rippon meets the Duchess of Cambridge at the event at Buckingham Palace

Steve Rippon meets the Duchess of Cambridge at the event at Buckingham Palace

Work at Tapton School includes running stress busting support groups, creating 20 mental health champions, developing advice on dealing with stress to go in every students' planner.

The school worked with Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust’s CAMHS team which also saw them provide staff training, hold assemblies on emotional wellbeing and mental health and create Healthy Minds champions.

Mr Rippon added: "The key to Tapton's success has been for mental health and wellbeing to always be on the agenda and to listen to students and staff.

"This led to the school taking the bold decision to develop an extensive mental health and wellbeing section on the school website.

"The website highlights the support available at Tapton as well as signposting other support locally and nationally and gives access

Sixth former Lara has suffered with mental health issues for many of her teenage years but has now completed her exams and plans to go to university.

She is now an advocate for mental health in young people and a member of the Youth Parliament.

Lara said: "Tapton School has consistently supported me through not only my lows but also the highs.

"My endeavours have always been encouraged.

"Mental health is now high up on the schools agenda which is incredibly reassuring to see.

"Although there is still a way to go, it no longer feels as though mental health is a taboo subject on the corridors. Instead it is openly spoken about in lessons, and on posters in all classrooms.

"I am eternally thankful for the support and encouragement Tapton have provided me with.

"Knowing as a school they're paving the way towards a future where young people can not only speak freely about their struggles but also access timely appropriate help make me feel hopeful for the next generation of students.

"I am both proud and honoured to be a pupil at such a forward thinking and pioneering school."