‘Time to Talk’ Day encourages us all to be more open about mental health, to talk about mental health and listen to others. It took place this year on Thursday 1 February 2018. At the University, we encouraged staff to have conversations about mental health on this year’s ‘Time to Talk’ Day.
So how did staff get involved on Time to Talk Day this year?
Several Institutes and departments hosted a pop up cafe…
We heard from staff in the Institutes of Sport and Exercise Science and Education, Comms and Postgraduate students in IHS who all hosted ‘Time to Change’ pop-up cafe sessions which encouraged colleagues to stop for 15 minutes in the workday to meet up, chat and share ideas and experiences in relation to supporting wellbeing and positive mental health in the workplace:
“Thank you for supporting the ISES pop-up café, for Time-to-talk day yesterday. I am aware that other staff will have had commitments preventing them from attending, but at least we were able to contribute to challenging ‘the elephant in the room’ in terms of talking about MH.” (Paul Castle, ISES)
One email, received from Suzanne Allies in IOE, summed up the intentions of the day:
“The Primary Education team (about 10 of us) met on the 2 Feb and had a good chat about MH and the strategies we find useful to cope in the workplace. We also discussed our forthcoming away day and what staff would find useful- which was surprisingly varied. Overall, staff commented that it was wonderful to have been given this opportunity to talk about MH- we are looking forward to the next ‘Time to Talk’ day!”
In Mulberry House, Laura Dhesi from ASU shared a photo of the WBS ‘five minute focus’ notice board promoting ‘Time to Talk’ day:
“I just wanted to let you know that having seen the item on the staff news weekly blog, we have used our WBS five minute focus board located in the kitchen of Mulberry House at City Campus to try and raise awareness of ‘Time to Talk’ Day and making ‘Time to Talk’ in general. I’ve attached a photo of our board!”
We received several emails from staff colleagues sharing useful resources on the topic of mental health at work …
The Time to Change campaign this year launched a new film In Your Corner which shows straightforward ways anyone can be there for a friend or work colleague. Do feel free to share this film link with others.
Hilary Causer, IHS PGR student, shared an interesting report published by Student Minds about the impact on academics of having to give mental health support to students. The findings were based on 52 interviews across 5 universities. The full report can be accessed at:
Gill Slater shared a new toolkit to help University staff support students with mental health problems. The toolkit developed in conjunction with AMOSHE aims to provide a single resource which can be used by all University staff to increase their knowledge, understanding and confidence to help and support students to maximise their academic potential: http://staffresources.uhi.ac.uk/mhc/
Sarah Pittaway in Library Services shared an interesting link about creating a workplace culture that supports positive mental health and wellbeing:
“I was just reading the Time to Talk piece in the staff news and was reminded of an article I read last year. You may have seen it – it was about a tweet which went viral when a CEO responded positively to one of his team taking a couple of ‘mental health days’. This made me reflect on institutional culture and how employees feel about taking sick days for their own mental wellbeing. There’s an awful lot of stigma surrounding it, and I would guess that here, like many places, people only take time off when issues become very serious and they develop terrible anxiety or depression, for example. There’s certainly nothing that relates to it on our absence reporting form. I don’t know whether it’s relevant to what you’re hoping to achieve, but if we’re starting a conversation about mental health and wellbeing, I think this is something that would be well worth discussing”.
Jenny Hope shared her poem ‘Split’ which was written for World Mental Health day 2010:
“Following on from your email regarding #Time to talk on 1st February, I’ve enclosed a copy of my poem, Split, which was written for World Mental Health Day 2010, when I was visiting poet for the day @ The University of Worcester”.
You move on.
You pack your life, fold it down.
It cuts your fingers. Your room
is three sizes too small and stills your breath.
The cold distance of miles keep tugging
you back, stops you from tuning into new voices.
Your past re-enters as the door yawns
open. One day your old skin won’t fit.
This will happen.
One day your skin won’t fit. Your past
re-enters as the door yawns open.
Stops you tuning into voices. The cold distance
of miles still tug you back. Your room
is three sizes too small and stills your breath.
It cuts your fingers.
You repack your life. Fold it down.
You move on.
Written for World Mental Health Day 2010 @ The University of Worcester
Several staff emailed to indicate their personal interest in continuing these conversations on a more regular basis and offering their support to establish a staff peer support group/ online forum. We plan to hold an initial meeting to take this forward shortly. Any other staff who may be interested in helping, please do still email as its not too late to get involved!
If you want to share an email or blog or would like to help to establish a staff peer support network, please email Professor Jo Smith: firstname.lastname@example.org using the email header #Time toTalk
A further opportunity to carry on conversations around mental health will be on University Mental Health Day which takes place on Thursday March 1 2018 this year. A varied programme of events have been planned across the day including the opportunity to experience brief taster sessions led by mental Health and Counselling Staff on mindfulness and relaxation, mindfully walk the University Mile and to visit the newly refurbished University Labyrinth located at the bottom end of Woodbury by the car park on St John’s Campus which provides a paved walking meditation area in which to reflect and relax…do join us at some point during the day!