Cardiff University has become the latest high profile institution to commit to ending the stigma around mental illness by signing the Time to Change Wales Organisational Pledge at a busy event at its campus in Cardiff last week.

The pledge was signed by Professor Elizabeth Treasure, Deputy Vice-Chancellor if Cardiff University and is part of a broader focus on the wellbeing of staff and students at the university.

Professor Treasure said:

“I am signing the pledge for, and on behalf of, staff. The University is committed to supporting the wellbeing of its staff and we have recently looked at how we do this and the range of services available, our recent engagement with an Employee Assistance provider and now our commitment to Time to Change are just some of the ways we are looking to complement our own longstanding internal service provision.

As part of our commitment to Time to Change we will be establishing a Mental Health Working Group and developing an action plan to ensure we raise awareness mental health issues. Cardiff University is fully committed to this pledge and to working with the Student’s Union to help us to tackle mental health stigma and discrimination for staff and students.”

Tina Abbott is the Staff Counselling Manager for Cardiff University and a key figure in creating the action plan and the Mental Health Working group. She said:

“I was delighted with the support the signing of the Time to Change pledge event received on Monday. There was a really good turnout for the event including many senior managers, and there is a lot of positive energy to carry the Action Plan forward in the University. I am really looking forward to working on this project with the Mental Health Working Group.”

Time to Change Wales is the first national campaign to end the stigma and discrimination faced by people with mental health problems. Programme Manager Ant Metcalfe, who worked with the university towards signing the pledge, said:

“We’re delighted that Cardiff University has taken action to end mental health stigma by signing the Time to Change Wales Organisational Pledge.

In addition to sending out a message that we need to talk about mental health in the workplace, signing the pledge is also a commitment to developing an action plan and putting in place concrete policies and actions, which will make a real difference to staff and people who come into contact with the university, who have experienced mental health problems. We’re looking forward to working with Cardiff University to develop that plan and help end mental health stigma.”

Research carried out by Time to Change Wales in 2013 revealed that almost half of people with mental health problems felt that stigma had prevented them from working. It also revealed that most workers who have a mental health problem would not feel comfortable telling a colleague or manager about their experiences. Time to Change Wales’ latest campaign aims to change this by showing how small things that anyone can do, such as simply asking ‘how are you?’ and talking about mental health, can make a big difference.

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