A Time to Change in Higher Education

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2014 Higher Education Service Group Conference
8 November 2013

Conference is aware that many people are affected by mental health conditions. It is concerning that nearly nine out of ten people who experience them say they face stigma and discrimination as a result.

In supporting members, our activists have noted that many Higher Education employers are neither aware of nor prepared to support staff suffering from such conditions.

Individuals suffering with mental health conditions can find that their illness is exacerbated by the treatment they receive at work often due to ;

i)return to work plans taking little or no account of their specific needs and times scales to facilitate a successful return to work

ii)institutional capability and ill health procedures being unrealistic and failing to take account of the need to make “reasonable adjustments”.

Conference welcomes the various anti stigma campaigns such as “See ME “ in Scotland and “Time to Change” across England, Wales and Northern Ireland which to try and tackle the stigmatisation of mental health conditions and promote a greater understanding.

Conference believes that Universities have a strategic role to play within society and should set a leading example in supporting employees with mental health conditions.

Therefore Conference Instructs the Higher Education Service Group Executive (HESGE) to:

1)Work with the other joint campus trades unions, UCU, Unite, GMB and EIS to raise the issue with the Universities Colleges Employer Association (UCEA) and the Equality Challenge Unit (ECU) seeking the production of sector based guidance to enable Universities to better support staff with mental health conditions.

2)Provide advice and guidance to branches which:

a)Encourages them to raise awareness of the issue amongst activists and members and helps them to identify other potential organising and bargaining opportunities to support members with mental health conditions

b)Enables them to raise the matter locally with their employer and,

I)seek the review and amendment of policies and procedures to reflect the needs of staff with mental health conditions.

II)encourage the employer to become a signatory to the appropriate anti stigmatization campaign.

Submitted by the South West Region Higher Education Committee