Today is Time to Talk Day, one of the biggest days on the mental health awareness calendar. It is a chance for all of us to be more open about mental health and wellbeing, to talk, to listen, and to potentially change lives. I encourage you to take the time out of your day to visit one of the Time to Talk cafes taking place on campus and at the Virgil Building.
However, today isn’t the only chance we have.
As Chair of the Health and Wellbeing Steering Group, which has representatives from across our community, I am pleased to say that we are taking a proactive approach to talking about mental health and wellbeing and I would like to let you know about a few of the initiatives that are supporting both staff and students in this area.
You may have seen the post on the staff homepage last week about the launch of the Staff Wellbeing Champion Network. We have more than 20 volunteers from across the University who are taking an active part in promoting wellbeing messages, activities and events as well as signposting colleagues to relevant resources and services and promoting a healthy culture within our community.
The Mental Health and Wellbeing workshops launched last May are still ongoing and continue to be popular with staff and managers. These workshops give participants the opportunity to consider and engage in constructive and open conversations, with over 500 participants in the last 9 months.
We are also taking the lead in identifying what is working well and what could be changed to support staff health and wellbeing. This is being accomplished through developing Faculty and Departmental (both academic and professional services) Action Plans, written in conjunction with our Staff Health & Wellbeing Manager. So far, we have three departments and faculties participating in this project, with more starting in 2020. This is an ongoing project, and if you are interested in participating please contact Heather Girling.
In the coming days and weeks Student Services will be launching a new service in addition to their existing on-campus provision. Be Well - Talk Now will provide our students with access to support 24 hours a day, no matter where they are in the world, via phone, video call or live chat.
This support will be available to all students, but the flexibility of Talk Now will be especially helpful to our distance learners and students off campus, on placement, and overseas. Talk Now can also provide follow-up support if it is needed, including counselling which will be available in a number of languages.
These initiatives aim to support both our students and staff, and we will keep you updated on these and other projects in the pipeline.
Professor Bernie Morley
Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Provost