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The Corporation

Posted: 12/10/15

Supporting mental health awareness at college

West Nottinghamshire College is joining more than 300 other organisations across the UK to become a Time to Change Employer Pledge organisation.

  • Dame Asha with staff and students all proudly showing their pledges
  • HR director Tracey Thompson pledges to help employees who are carers

The Time to Change Employer Pledge is an aspirational statement with meaning, indicating to employees, service users and the public that an organisation wants to take action to tackle the stigma and discrimination around mental health, focusing on the workplace in particular.

To date, over 85,000 people nationally have already signed the pledge and last week (9 October) principal and chief executive Dame Asha Khemka wrote her own personal pledge and met with staff and visiting organisations from the counselling and mental health support sector.

Dame Asha’s pledges towards people experiencing difficulties with their mental health said: “I pledge to try to understand their feelings,” and “I pledge to make them feel good and beautiful.”

The college’s director of human resources Tracey Thompson wrote her pledge which stated: “I pledge to be relentless in challenging unacceptable comments and change hearts and minds.” 

Tracey said: “It’s such a crucial area for us to become involved in. One in four people will suffer some kind of mental health issue in the course of a year. It’s a massive part of our college family, so we’re completely committed to working with our employees to support them in any way we can. We’re really grateful for the support of Unison who’ve taken the agenda forward with us.

“We’ve noticed some employees are carers as well as coming to work at the college. Another pledge I’m going to make is to support those members of staff who are carers and look at how we can help them further.”

Organisations who were at the college’s Derby Road campus to offer advice on their specific services included Mansfield-based Shire Counselling Service, NIDAS, Let’s Talk Wellbeing and Cruse.

Over the coming weeks the college is also planning to provide 'tea and talk' fundraising events to raise cash for mental health charities, while offering people the opportunity to share their feelings and concerns in an informal and relaxed setting.