We all have mental health, just as we all have physical health. Mental ill health can strike at any time and can affect people from all walks of life. Although things are improving, stigma still exists around mental ill health. As a society, we don't tend to know how to take care of our mental health like we do our physical health.
The Department of Materials have supported a large cohort of staff at all levels to become Mental Health First Aiders, accredited by Mental Health First Aid England (we also have Anti-Harassment Advisers who can guide you on non-mental health matters: Dr Clara Barker (01865 273793), Miki Bennett (01865 612761), Rebecca Bradford (01865 283225) and Professor Jan Czernuszka (01865 273771)).
As there is often a lack of resources, and often a lack of understanding, about mental health issues in the workplace, and this is one of the steps the Department has taken to better take care of our colleagues.
Mental Health First Aiders are trained to spot the signs of mental health issues and guide a person towards the most appropriate support for them at that point in time. It does not teach people to be therapists, but does teach people how to respond in a crisis.
We are aware that different people have different needs, which is why we've tried to train a diverse cohort of Mental Health First Aiders, so you can choose who you'd feel most comfortable talking to. Anyone can approach a Mental Health First Aider, whether you're currently experiencing a crisis or have noticed yourself starting to struggle more, or if you're looking for advice about how best to support your colleagues.
Our Mental Health First Aiders aim to have:
- an in-depth understanding of mental health and the factors that can affect well-being
- practical skills to spot the triggers and signs of a range of mental health issues
- confidence to step in, reassure and support a person in distress using the Mental Health First Aid action plan
- enhanced interpersonal skills such as non-judgmental listening
- knowledge to help someone recover their health by guiding them to further support - whether through self-help resources, internal support, or external sources such as their GP
- an understanding of how to keep themselves safe while performing their duties.
Please feel free to get in touch with any of the mental health first aiders listed below, and pass on this information to anyone who you think might benefit from having an informal chat with someone at a convenient location that suits them.
The University provides resources to support wellbeing for both staff and students, such as:
The University Student Wellbeing and Mental Health Strategy adopts a holistic approach to mental health and wellbeing covering all aspects of students’ university experience from learning and life skills to community, inclusion, and support.
For additional online resources, and to find out how the University of Oxford Occupational Health service may be able to help please contact Occupational Health.
Additional home-working advice, wellbeing guidance, self-help resources and counselling information for staff can be found on University Website.