Gateshead College has become the first FE provider in the region to back a campaign that encourages people to speak out about mental health issues.
Time to Change is a national initiative launched by two charities, Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, to encourage debate and tackle stigmas surrounding mental health.
Now Gateshead College has become the latest organisation to lend its support to the campaign, which is being backed by more than 550 organisations across the UK.
Judith Doyle CBE, principal and chief executive of the college, officially signed the Time to Change Employer Pledge to coincide with the recent Time to Talk Day, an annual event which aims to stimulate conversation about mental health problems. To celebrate the day, the college hosted a special event that gave staff and students the chance to talk about the subject and get involved in a range of fun-filled, stress-busting activities such as laughter yoga and mindfulness sessions.
One in four people will experience a mental health problem, according to Time to Change, while nine in ten say they have faced negative treatment from others as a result of their condition. Gateshead College has a dedicated resource that provides confidential support to people affected by mental health-related conditions and has also enrolled all staff on a mental health awareness training course, which helps them spot the signs and symptoms of a friend or colleague in distress.
Judith Doyle CBE said: “Gateshead College is proud to be part of a movement that aims to change the narrative about mental health. By encouraging people to speak openly about this important subject, we can break down barriers, change attitudes and help people who really need it.
“Nobody should feel isolated or alone if they have a problem of this nature. We want everyone who works and studies at this college to feel they can discuss their mental health and ask for support if they need it.”
Since Time to Change was launched in 2007, it has reached millions of people across the country and has begun to improve attitudes and behaviour towards people with mental health problems.