Imperial has added its voice to a national campaign to end discrimination linked to mental illness by signing the Time to Change pledge.
Time to Change is a UK-wide campaign, led by charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, which aims to empower people with mental health problems to feel confident talking about the issue without facing stigma from friends and colleagues. Imperial joins scores of other organisations in signing the pledge, including Marks & Spencer, the Premier League and Channel 4, as well as universities, local authorities and NHS Trusts.
Professor Debra Humphris signed the pledge on behalf of the College on Thursday, marking Imperial’s commitment to ending discrimination and breaking the silence around mental health issues.
The Time to Change pledge represents Imperial’s commitment to supporting a culture of openness at the College, where talking about mental health issues is no longer taboo
– Professor Debra Humphris
Vice Provost (Education)
Alongside the pledge, Imperial has produced an action plan setting out a series of initiatives designed to raise awareness of mental health issues, debunk myths and enhance the mental wellbeing of its community. These include workshops designed to help staff and students manage stress, as well as an increased number of Mental Health First Aiders – members of staff trained to provide information and guidance about mental health issues.
Signing the pledge, Professor Debra Humphris, Vice Provost (Education) said: “As someone who has a close family member with long-standing mental health issues, I know how important it is to be able to talk openly and ask for help without fear of stigma or discrimination from family, friends and colleagues.”
“The Time to Change pledge represents Imperial’s commitment to supporting a culture of openness at the College, where talking about mental health issues is no longer taboo. With 1 in 4 of the population experiencing some form of mental health issue, even something as simple as asking someone how they are, and taking the time to listen can help to bring about real change.”
John Neilson, College Secretary & Registrar and Chair of the Disability Action Committee said: "As mental health issues tend to be invisible, they can go unnoticed making it more difficult to support those affected. This is why it is so important to challenge stigma and ensure that our community feels comfortable in coming forward and asking for help when they need it. This pledge is an important step towards this goal.”
Angela Etherington, Regional Coordinator for Time to Change, co-signed the pledge. She said:
"At Time to Change, we want to make it as easy to talk about our emotional health as it is to talk about our physical health so that people feel safe and supported in the workplace. In signing the Time to Change Pledge and developing an action plan to end mental health discrimination, Imperial is demonstrating that it has the wellbeing of its community at its core."
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