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National Time to Talk Day and University Mental Health Day

9 March 2018

I’m writing this blog on March 1 2018, which is University Mental Health Day.  This is a national campaign to focus efforts on promoting the mental health of people who live, work and study in Higher Education.  As the snow falls, I’m thinking back to 1 February which was National Time to Talk day, when I had the absolute privilege of signing a new Time to Change Pledge on behalf of the University, which was awarded to us in recognition of our new action plan and our work to reduce mental health stigma and discrimination.

The #Let’sShare Campaign has been developed in support of Time to Change, a growing movement of people, working to change how we all think and act about mental health. It encourages us all to share more about our own mental health and to encourage other people to open up about their mental health, as a way to support ourselves, support others, and to help beat the stigma that still surrounds this area.  It has five key messages:

Speak – about your own mental health

Help – others to speak about their mental health

Access – support for mental health if needed, and encourage others to do the same

Recognise – that the language we use about mental health is important

Expect – small things to make a big difference

I was moved to tears as several brave members of staff and students shared their own mental health experiences on film in support of the Campaign, and this powerful video was shown for the first time on the night.  Please watch the video, I’m sure it will provide a powerful reminder of our societal duty to look after the people around us, who may be fighting a battle that no-one is aware of. There are so many people who suffer in silence about their illness because they still worry that stigma is associated with this.  I’d like to thank the wonderful Jo Pinder (our Wellbeing Practitioner and Counsellor) who organised the whole event, all of our brave staff and students who were prepared to share their mental health experiences and were on hand on the night to encourage others to talk, and all of the guests who attended this unforgettable event.

Pictured with our signed pledge are (L-R) Jo Pinder, Ben Lewis, Karen Holford and Hollie Cooke.

Please Find out more about the #LetsShare Campaign, and how you can get involved in the University’s Time to Change work. Please also look out for the #LetsShare Banner Exhibition which will be travelling to various locations across the University.