THE happiness and wellbeing of students is at the forefront of a new partnership between Coleg Cambria and mental health campaigners.

The north east Wales college marked Time to Talk Day by signing the Time to Change (Young People Organisational Pledge) Youth Pledge, demonstrating its support of learners and the Cambria community.

The Pledge is a public statement of aspiration that the organisation wants to tackle mental health stigma and determination, led by the Mind charity.

Equality and Diversity Coordinator Elane Roberts says the commitment shines a light on the hard work already taking place at their sites in Northop, Deeside, Llysfasi and Bersham Road and Yale in Wrexham.

And it comes after Coleg Cambria was awarded the prestigious Investors in Diversity Stage 2 by the National Centre for Diversity (NCFD).

“There are growing concerns nationwide about mental health, particularly among young people, and of course the students at Cambria are our top priority,” said Elane.

“With the support of Time to Change we devised an action plan to develop this area of our work further.

 “When the final pieces were in place we were delighted to sign the pledge and highlight our work in helping to erode the stigma around mental health, having already signed the Employer Pledge in 2017.”

The college’s health and wellbeing steering group meets regularly to address issues and identify channels in which to promote the Time to Change project, including the Active Cambria programme.

“Many people – especially young people – are still reluctant to discuss their mental health, and that’s something which is a real worry,” said Elane.

“I’m very proud we have signed the pledge and will continue to try and get people talking so we can tackle the subject and try to make a positive impact.”

Cambria’s chief executive David Jones – who was shortlisted in the Managing Director/CEO category at the 2018 NCFD Awards – said he was proud to see the college held up as a beacon of best practice for its culture of care and inclusion, introducing practices and EDI (Equality, Diversity and Inclusion) legislation.

“While it is important to support the pledge and we are proud to do so, it’s crucial we maintain and build upon the work of Elane in taking responsibility for each other’s welfare, especially when it comes to health and wellbeing,” he said.

“Coleg Cambria is an environment of warmth, support and respect, and we are heartened to see that recognised.”

A spokesperson for Time to Change Wales added: “We are proud to have Coleg Cambria on board as a pledged college to tackle mental health stigma and discrimination and improving young people's confidence so they can talk more openly about mental health.

“Russell Workman, our Community Engagement Officer and Dinah Tarjanyi, our TtCW Champion were delighted to be invited to mark the pledge signing and talk about how important it is for organisations and individuals to break the silence around mental health.”

For more information, visit www.cambria.ac.uk/cambria-life/diversityandequality

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