The Inclusive University

Time to Talk Day

Posted by Anna Houghton | 0 Comments

Contributed by Sue Ollis, Student Support Adviser.

On Thursday 2nd February, once again the Mental Wellbeing Peer Support Staff Network marked national Time to Talk Day here at UWE.  As you can see, we offered free apples, free hugs and free conversation. 

Volunteers covered the stall from 11:00 until 14:00, during which time many hugs and positive conversations were exchanged with both students and staff.  Some staff also took the opportunity to join the Peer Support Staff Network.  You too can do so by e-mailing your interest to

This Time to Change national day is an opportunity to break the silence of mental health, to encourage people to speak about their mental ill health as they would physical ill health.  Working to raise awareness, reduce stigma and also reduce mental health discrimination, as UWE pledged to do following the signing of the Time to Change pledge in February 2013.  Since becoming a Time to Change Champion both in the workplace and beyond, I regularly speak out about my own experience during my own struggles with mental ill health during my fulltime working over the past 38 years.  On the morning of Time to Talk day, I was invited into Radio Bristol to highlight the need to talk.  You can listen to the show here (external link) between 2:02 and 02:15 hours in. (Available until 4th March).

On the day, there was also a positive message from the Prime Minister which you can see here (external link).

Since the signing of the pledge in 2013 and the subsequent organisational healthcheck, UWE have continued to address recommended actions including the launch of the Reasonable Adjustments Policy.  Further information can be found here.  Also, following a successful pilot scheme, we now have a Support Service for Disabled Staff.  This invaluable service can provide advice and support on a referral basis on disability-related matters, including – Reasonable adjustments, Access to Work and Mental Health.

The Director of Time to Change, Sue Baker (OBE) will be coming to UWE on Monday 3rd April and will be giving a lunchtime talk for interested staff and students.  More information will follow nearer the time, please check the events page for details.

Although much has been achieved, there is always room for improvement and much more to be done, to quote the PM, ‘not just in our hospitals, but in our classrooms, at work and in our communities’.