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The seventh Duke of Westminster and Prince George’s godfather, Hugh Grosvenor, gave the university a £1 million donation. The research is being done by the university’s Department of Psychiatry who are looking into the impacts of the pandemic in different areas including anxiety, stress, and individuals being disconnected from their social, family and work lives.
In a statement the Duke said: “Mental health can affect anyone, anywhere.
“This crisis presents new and difficult challenges to so many people; whether that’s clinicians and key workers on the front line, grieving families, children struggling to understand social isolation, or anyone already suffering from anxiety or other mental health issues.
“While the impact of this crisis is being felt immediately, the longer-term mental health impact of Covid-19 could potentially be devastating if not addressed.”
He continued: “I am really interested in Oxford University’s innovative mental health programmes, particularly the impact of the pandemic on youth mental health.
“These projects are vital pieces of work and will benefit us all as the effects of the virus become more apparent.”
The funds are part of a larger donation of £10 million made in April by the Duke.
The majority of this money went to support the health service through the NHS Charities Together which provide respite, rehabilitation and mental health assistance to NHS staff and their families.
Mr Grosvenor has in total donated £12.5 million via his charitable body the Westminster Foundation for coronavirus related response and recovery.
Of this, £2.5 million went mostly to organisations providing essential food distribution to vulnerable families.
The head of Oxford University’s Department of Psychiatry, Professor John Geddes, said in a statement: “We are enormously grateful for this generous gift which will enable us to scale up our research projects, especially into how Covid-19 is affecting young people’s mental health.
“I’m delighted how quickly and expertly our researchers have responded to this global threat.
“The pace of development means that funding them has been a challenge, and this donation is critically important.”
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This comes as the Duke of Cambridge warns of a potential mental health impact over calling NHS workers “heroes” during the Covid-19 pandemic.
He said the hailing could discourage NHS workers from seeking support if they feel pressure to appear “strong”.
Speaking to the BBC One Show, Prince William said: “I think we’ve got to be very careful with the language that we use.”
He added: “They should rightly be hailed as superstars, and brave, and wonderful staff; but I’m very conscious from a mental health point of view that we don’t alienate some of them.
“Where they feel that once they have this hero tag, they can no longer shake that, and therefore they can’t ask for support, they have to be this strong pillar of strength, when actual fact what we need them to be is examples of positive mental health.”
This week the original organiser of the weekly Clap For Carers suggested that the latest round of applause should be the final one.
They advised that the public clapping should then become an annual event.
The late Gerald Grosvenor, the Duke’s father, was a close friend of the royal family.
The Duke took his titled when he died in August 2016 and is reportedly the world’s richest person under the age of 30.
In October 2013, the Duke was named as one of Prince George’s godfathers at the child’s christening.
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