Mental Health First Aiders
Mental Health First Aiders are an initial point of contact for staff and students experiencing a mental health issue or emotional distress. They are members of the Faculty and have completed a two-day equivalent mental health first-aid training course, accredited by Mental Health England. They are trained to recognise the symptoms of mental ill health, provide initial help and guide a person towards appropriate professional help. Mental Health First Aiders are not trained to be therapists or counsellors, but they are taught how to respond to a crisis and how to help people who may be struggling. Like a Physical First Aider, a Mental Health one is there as a first port of call to assist you in a difficult situation and get you the help you need.
How can Mental Health First Aiders help?
- They are available for a supportive conversation.
- They listen non-judgementally, maintaining confidentiality.
- They guide you to obtaining further appropriate help, whether through professional support or self-help resources.
Anyone in the Faculty can approach these individuals for a confidential and non-judgemental conversation, whether work-related or not. This service is free and available during working hours.
Please note that the Mental Health First Aiders may not be able to respond immediately but will arrange a time to call or meet up.
If you are a student, you can also contact the Welfare Lead in your college.
For support outside working hours, please get in touch with:
|NHS Direct (call 111)
|Oxfordshire Mind – for everyone
|Out-of-hours GP service (call 0845 3458995)
|Campaign Against Living
Miserably (CALM) – for men (call 0800 58 58 58 – 5pm to midnight every day)
|Samaritans – for everyone (24/7 call free on 116 123)
|Papyrus – for young people under 35 (call 0800 068 41 41 – 9am to midnight every day)
|Shout – for everyone (24/7 text 'SHOUT' to 85258)
The Mix – for people under 25 (call 0808 808 4994)
Further resources are available on the right hand side of this page.
Who can I contact?
John Armour is Professor of Law and Finance and Dean of the Faculty of Law.
“Academia can be stressful enough at the best of times, and the very difficult circumstances surrounding the pandemic created acute challenges for wellbeing. When taking over as Dean, I wanted to be able to respond as effectively as possible to colleagues who may be experiencing mental health difficulties.”
Karen is a Senior Research Facilitator at the Faculty.
"For many years I have been interested in the benefits of gardening for our mental health and wellbeing. Through Rotary I have seen the great work that many local charities do combining gardening and crafts with counselling and support. I know that the only thing that helps me switch off completely from the rest of the world is working in the garden – whether at home or in the St Cross Building courtyard. It’s ok if I need to switch off for a few minutes during the working day.
I was keen to become a mental health first aider because I am very aware that everyone experiences anxiety and stress in very different ways and I never want to try to say to someone “yes I know how you feel” or “you should do this because it worked for me”. Doing the course and discussing support with others on the course has given me more confidence to speak with people who may be struggling. We won’t say exactly the right thing every time, but it’s important to try to help and to have the conversations.
I’m happy to be contacted by anyone who is struggling who wants to have a chat.”
Katrin is an Associate Professor of Criminology at the Centre for Criminology.
"I have a psychology background and volunteered to be a mental health first aider because, over the years in different organisations, I have seen how colleagues at all levels can struggle with stress affecting their mental health and how they can find it very helpful to talk to someone not directly connected to their work or their private lives. I have personal experience supporting family members and friends with mental health difficulties and/or chronic illness, and with parenting neurodiverse children struggling in a largely neurotypical world."
Qingmin is the China Scholarship Council Post-doctoral Fellow at the Faculty of Law.
"Hello! My name is Qingmin. I attended a Mental Health First Aid course a few months ago and am now one of the Mental Health First Aiders. I am willing to help someone who is struggling. If you may be experiencing poor mental health, I’m here to listen and offer guidance and support. Please do not hesitate to contact me directly."