Aber signs ‘Time to Change Wales’ mental health pledge

Mayor of Aberystwyth, Wendy Morris-Twiddy pictured with Time to Change Wales programme manager Antony Metcalfe after signing a “pledge as Mayor of Aberystwyth to support #EndStigma.  Photo - Gareth Evans (AU Official Photographer)

Mayor of Aberystwyth, Wendy Morris-Twiddy pictured with Time to Change Wales programme manager Antony Metcalfe after signing a “pledge as Mayor of Aberystwyth to support #EndStigma.
Photo – Gareth Evans (AU Official Photographer)

ABERYSTWYTH University and the Students’ Union yesterday signed the ‘Time to Change Wales’ pledge committing them to put an action plan together to work towards eliminating mental health stigma and discrimination.

The pledge signing, held inside the Students’ Union, was attended by student advisors from the University, the team of executive officers, as well as the Mayor of Aberystwyth, Wendy Morris-Twiddy. Aberystwyth University Pro Vice-Chancellor Rebecca Davies and Students’ Union Welfare Officer Laura Dickens signed the pledge on behalf of their respective organisations in partnership with Time to Change Wales Programme Manager, Antony Metcalfe.

Opening the event, Laura Dickens spoke of her pride and expressed gratitude to all attending. Dickens detailed the action plan for the Students’ Union which includes:

  • Looking to increase the number of non-alcohol focussed events
  • Inviting speakers to discuss mental health issues, open to all students and staff
  • Running a campus wide review on what problems are being experienced, and to see what services need improvement
  • Supporting the set-up, promotion and development of the Time To Change Wales student society
  • Run an anti-drugs campaign, including visible displaying of posters
  • Running de-stress campaigns around exam periods and essay deadlines
  • Working with the University Mental Health Advisor to promote the importance of self-care for students and staff

Following this, Olymbia Petrou (Aberystwyth University Equalities Advisor) took to the stage to discuss the details of the University’s commitments which took into account the need to provide further help and support to staff and students alike, before Rebecca Davies PVC signed the pledge on the University’s behalf.

Aberystwyth University Equality Advisor Olymbia Petrou, Pro Vice-Chancellor Rebecca Davies, and Aberystwyth Students’ Union Welfare Officer Laura Dickens with signed pledges, accompanied by members of the newly formed Time to Change Wales student society.  Photo - Gareth Evans

Aberystwyth University Equality Advisor Olymbia Petrou, Pro Vice-Chancellor Rebecca Davies, and Aberystwyth Students’ Union Welfare Officer Laura Dickens with signed pledges, accompanied by members of the newly formed Time to Change Wales student society.
Photo – Gareth Evans

Time to Change Wales’ Programme Manager and Aber alumnus Antony Metcalfe gave details of the campaign, which launched in February 2012 with the support of charities Mind Cymru, Hafal, and Gofal. Metcalfe expressed his pride and delight that Aberystwyth University and Students’ Union were the first organisations of their type to commit to the pledge, and told the room that he hoped many other educational institutions would follow suit. He also said that both the University’s and Union’s action plans were among the most detailed he’d seen, and commented that they were both well on the way to change.

Finally, Aberystwyth University student Jonny Richards, a Time To Change Wales ‘champion’ and president of the newly-formed Time To Change Wales Student Society addressed the room to discuss his own experiences with the campaign and told of his delight (as a student) to see his University and Union supporting a campaign of which he was so proud. The new student society was officially formed today, and they are looking to work with similar organisations such as the Mind Café Society and Nightline to host events and raise awareness of mental health issues amongst Aberystwyth students.

A spokesperson for the Students’ Union commented “By signing the pledge, students will know that their Union and the University are willing to talk about mental health and are committed to ending stigma and discrimination. Furthermore, it will offer both institutions the opportunity to highlight and promote the services available to students.”