University of Winchester signs Time to Change pledge to change how we all think and act about mental health

2 Feb 2017
Group of smiling people holding pledge banners

The University of Winchester signed an employer pledge with Time to Change today (Thursday 2 February 2017), committing to help reduce mental health stigma and discrimination. 

Time to Change is a growing movement run by charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness which supports people to open up to mental health problems. 
Professor Elizabeth Stuart, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University, signed the pledge at a special event for University staff to mark national Time to Talk Day, which provides an opportunity for people to talk and listen to others about mental health issues.
At the event, the Winchester Student Union also undertook to promote and encourage positive responses to mental health, with Harry Sampson, the Student Union President, signing a pledge.
Professor Joy Carter, Vice-Chancellor of the University, said: "As an institution founded on values, which include 'individuals matter', the wellbeing of our staff is something that the University takes very seriously.
"There is no doubt that being open about mental health and being ready to listen can make a positive difference to someone's life and I am delighted that the University is signing the Time to Change pledge. Today we are pledging to provide a safe and supportive environment for all employees and to take steps to reduce any stigma associated with mental health. As part of this, we are providing mental health training for all staff and promoting and championing wellbeing at work through various events and initiatives."
Recent wellbeing events for University staff include a labyrinth workshop with a focus on mindfulness and relaxation and a talk about how to support friends and relatives with cancer. Later this month, a pilot campaign #20HealthyDays is launching to create greater awareness of health and wellbeing initiatives across the University. Opportunities to get active, be healthy and clear the mind will be advertised via social media each day. Mindfulness and relaxation workshops in partnership with iTalk are also planned. 
Sue Baker, Director of Time to Change, said: "We know it can be hard to talk about mental health, which is why we're supporting employers to open up; to talk and to listen. Too many people with mental health problems are made to feel isolated, ashamed and worthless, but with the right support, those of us with mental health problems can recover and have equal opportunities in all areas of life. Everyone's attitude makes a difference and it's fantastic to see organisations like the University of Winchester taking the lead."
The photograph above shows Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Elizabeth Stuart (standing fourth right with plaque); Assistant Vice-Chancellor Colette Cherry (standing centre behind Harry Sampson) and Harry Sampson, President, Winchester Student Union (kneeling with plaque) and University staff members after the Time to Change pledge signing on Thursday 2 February.


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