It's Time to Talk – UWE Bristol Mental Health Champion invited to Downing Street

Issue date: 05 February 2015

Sue Ollis, one of UWE Bristol's Mental Health Champions, will attend a reception on national Time To Talk Day(Thursday 5 February 2015) at the invitation of the Deputy Prime Minister's office.

Time to Talk Day aims to get people talking about mental health and to reduce discrimination. It is championed by Time to Change, a national anti-stigma campaign run by the leading mental health charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness.

In February 2012, UWE Bristol cemented its support to end mental health discrimination by signing up to the Time To Change pledge. In September of last year, Sue Ollis (UWE Student and Partnership Services), attended a Time to Change organisational event at Bristol Council House with Rachel Mylrea from HR at UWE. UWE Bristol were asked to share their progress within the workplace since signing the pledge. At this event, Sue Ollis shared her own personal experiences, particularly within the workplace, and expanded on how Time to Change had changed her life.

Sue Ollis said, “I'm delighted to be invited to Westminster. I've been volunteering for the Time to Change campaign for the past 18 months plus, attending many key events in Bristol (St Paul's Carnival, Bristol Pride, Bristol Harbourside, MOD Wellbeing Days and many others). I am also now a Champion for the cause. Having suffered with my mental health pretty much all of my adult life, this opportunity has inspired me to speak out and has been extremely refreshing, empowering and liberating. A campaign I am very passionate about.”

The reception is an opportunity to meet and mingle with people who work and volunteer in the mental health sector as well as service users. The Deputy Prime Minister will also make short remarks to show his support for the day.

Sue continues to play an important role as a Mental Health Champion at the University. She took on the role, as work placed Champions was one of the recommendations made during a staff health check facilitated by Human Resources. A small group also regularly meets up and it is hoped that they will also establish a Mental Health Peer Support Network for staff.

On Time to Talk Day at UWE Bristol - staff mental wellbeing champions are holding information stands in Onezone, Frenchay 11:00-14:00 and in Glenside Foyer 12:00-14:00. Staff and students are encouraged to come along, to find out more about looking after their own mental health and improving their wellbeing.

Staff and students are also encouraged to take the pledge to end mental health stigma by visiting the stall at the Escape Bar, Frenchay from 10:00-16:00. There will also be information available on Mental Health Awareness and where to find help and get advice. This event is run by the UWESU Mental Health Campaign, as part of Feel Good February, a month long series of health and wellbeing events for students, staff and the local community.

Next week – Friday 13 February, UWE Bristol Vice-Chancellor, Professor Steve West has been invited to speak at “Supporting Student Mental Wellbeing: Policy, Practice and Future Directions”. The conference is offered jointly by UUK and the Mental Wellbeing in Higher Education Working Group (MWBHE). It launches the 'Good practice guidance for student mental wellbeing in higher education', originally published in 2000, now rewritten to take into consideration changes in law, policy and practice within today's institutions. The event will inspire delegates to review and refine current strategy or build new systems to support students within their institution with mental health difficulties.

More information about mental health can be found on the Time to Change website. For details of guidance and support at UWE Bristol, for staff please visit the HR intranet pages and for students via the Wellbeing Service.

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