A college in the South Wales valleys has become the first in the country to pledge its commitment to destigmatising mental health issues in a learning environment.
Coleg y Cymoedd signed the Time to Change Wales pledge, an initiative run by three of Wales’ leading mental health charities, Mind Cymru, Hafal and Gofal. By signing the pledge, Coleg y Cymoedd are vowing their commitment to tackling mental health stigma and discrimination with both learners and staff members at the college’s four campuses across South Wales.
As the first FE college in Wales to sign the pledge, Coleg y Cymoedd has announced a number of measures they will be implementing to encourage learners and staff to speak openly about mental health issues or concerns. These include regular surveys for staff to understand the perception of mental health issues in the workplace, as well as offering staff access to counselling services and providing a team of welfare officers to support learners.
After signing the pledge, Andrew Jarvis, Vice Principal at Coleg y Cymoedd said: “With almost 20,000 learners and 850 staff across four campuses, the health and wellbeing of everyone at Coleg y Cymoedd is extremely important to us.
“There are many pressures learners can feel at this stage of their life, whether it’s applying for university or meeting their target grades. Equally, many staff members often take on the pressures learners feel themselves. Here at the college we are committed to supporting our learners throughout their education and help ease any stress they may be feeling. By signing the Time to Change Wales pledge, we hope to continue promoting good mental health throughout the college and help to tackle mental health stigma and discrimination in Wales.”
Mental health charities Gofal, Mind Cymru and Hafal charities resolved to work together, combining their knowledge, skills and expertise in the biggest attempt yet in Wales to end discrimination around mental health. By encouraging businesses, education bodies and organisations of all sizes to sign the Time to Change Wales pledge, the three charities hope to raise awareness of mental health issues.
Anthony Metcalfe, Time to Change Wales Programme Manager said: “Time to Change Wales, as the first national campaign to end stigma and discrimination, are proud that Coleg y Cymoedd are stepping up and signing the campaign pledge to address these issues across their workplace and campuses.
“The college are joining a growing band of employers that are working in partnership with Time to Change Wales to address these inequalities, and we look forward to monitoring their progress.”