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Staff and student mental health and wellbeing is very important to us here at St George’s and we have developed this page to give staff access to our mental health first aiders as well as resources, guidance, training and events, to support and promote mental health and wellbeing.

"At their core, universities are communities united in pursuit of meaningful learning and wisdom. They can and should be places that naturally support good mental health and good wellbeing for all. Equally, there is a clear transactional relationship between the core missions of universities and the wellbeing of staff and students."

https://universitymentalhealthcharter.org.uk/themes/

Information and resources to help your Mental Health and Wellbeing at St George's
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Working with Mental Health First Aid England

We have worked with Mental Health First Aid England since 2018. The courses they have delivered  have been a catalyst for change within St George’s, demonstrating the genuine need, interest and willingness to develop our work around mental health and staff wellbeing, but also kick-starting the development of our mental health and wellbeing offer and these pages. MHFA England have included St George’s as a case study to highlight our progress and development.

"Employee wellbeing has been an increasing focus of our staff development offer over the past few years, but more so than ever during the pandemic, which has challenged everybody,"

explains Jenny Winters, Director of Human Resources and Organisational Development. 

“By offering MHFA England training our aim is to increase awareness of mental health issues and equip our managers and staff to recognise mental health triggers  and feel able to offer, or ask for, support if needed."

Mental Health First Aiders and mental health support offered by St George's

Mental health is everyone’s business. We all have times when we feel down or stressed or frightened. Most of the time those feelings pass. But sometimes they develop into a more serious problem and that could happen to any one of us. Everyone is different. You may bounce back from a setback while someone else may feel weighed down by it for a long time. Your mental health doesn’t always stay the same. It can change as circumstances change and as you move through different stages of your lifehttps://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/get-involved

Mental Health First Aiders

If you are feeling alone, confused or afraid and need someone to speak to, Mental Health First Aiders are available to help. We are not trained therapists or counsellors, but we are here to listen, support and point you in the direction of further help if you need it.

To speak with a Mental Health First Aider, simply send an email to mhfa@sgul.ac.uk and one of us will be in touch to arrange a convenient time to talk. Please ensure that you have read the Guidance and Expectations document (PDF). 

We have all completed Mental Health First Aid training, qualified with MHFA England and are employees of St George’s, here to support you as a colleague.

Our Mental Health First Aiders are:

  • Anthony Albert – Molecular and Clinical Sciences Research Institute
  • Nathalie Fayers – Research Operations
  • Nicola Fitzgerald – Student Services
  • Sonia Gadhavi - Registry
  • Liz Gilby - Estates and Facilities 
  • Louise Hermann – Human Resources
  • Emma Jackson – Population Health Research Institute
  • Michelle Parginou – Institute of Medical and Biomedical Education
  • The Counselling Service  offer a time-limited counselling service available to all undergraduates and postgraduates studying at St George’s. The service is also available to university staff. It is free and confidential. None of the counsellors discriminate on the grounds of sexuality, race nor religion. They aim at all times to be impartial and non-judgemental.
  • Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) is available to staff, free of charge. This is a 24/7 service provided by Confidential Care and is able to advise on a variety of topics as well as offering counselling and emotional support. It is completely confidential. During Covid-19 EAP has been adapted to a telephone service. To access the service, please follow these instructions.

Download the EAP leaflet (PDF) for more information. (You can also visit Well Online and log in using username: sglogin  password: wellbeing).

External places to find mental health support or help
  • MIND provide advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. They campaign to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding. 
  • The Samaritans  - Whatever you're going through, a Samaritan will face it with you. We're here 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
  • Hub of Hope - There is always someone to talk to... Talking to someone could be the start of you feeling better.
  • Give Us a Shout - Shout is a text service, free on all major mobile networks, for anyone in crisis anytime, anywhere. The NHS is using this service for their frontline staff who want to approach help and support but are reluctant to pick up the phone for a call. 
  • Mental Health First Aid England  - You will find a selection of free resources including interactive toolkits, strategic guidance, posters and more.
  • Mental Health at Work  - Paying attention to workplace mental health has never been more important. Mental Health at Work is here to help you find what you need.
Mental health and wellbeing courses, training, events and resources

Staff development commission and run a range of wellbeing and mental health courses, training, and events at St George’s.  You can book onto these through MyWorkplace, the Staff Development Event schedule has the dates when these courses run.

We also signpost key diversity and inclusion networks that also offer support, guidance and run events. The staff development team can help you if you have any queries of questions about the courses listed below.

These include the following:

  • Mental First Aid Awareness half day course
  • Mental Health First Aiders – two-day course
  • 5 Ways to wellbeing – 1 hour session
  • Emotional Intelligence and Communication – half day course
  • Managing workloads– half day course
  • Resilience for Managers  - 2 half days
  • Resilience for Staff – 2 half days

Mindfulness weekly drop-in group for students and staff

The Counselling service run a mindfulness weekly drop-in group currently held on Microsoft Teams at 1pm every Wednesday. This includes a 25 minute mindfulness practice and a chance to ask questions and share reflections.

Networks
  • The Gathering is our Mental Health and Wellbeing Group. If you would like to register for the event, or join the mailing list so you don’t miss updates, please email staffdev@sgul.ac.uk
  • St George's, University of London has three staff equality networks 
  • The Disability Network run Time To Talk, fortnightly online drop-in sessions. Time To Talk is a campaign that was started by Time To Change to get people talking and break the silence around mental health problems.  The Time To Talk drop-in sessions which are open to all staff provide a safe space, and give attendees an informal opportunity to discuss any issues, share experiences, coping strategies, stay connected with colleagues and support each other. Contact disabilitynetwork@sgul.ac.uk to find out more and to join. 
Events
Resources

St George’s Library

  • At St George’s Library, we have a range of books to support you and your mental wellbeing. We don’t just have medical and healthcare related textbooks, we also have fiction, non-fiction and poetry. You can find highlights from our collection on our Wakelet, organised into different categories. There is an LGBTQ+ collection, a list of mood-boosting books, women & leadership and popular science bestsellers. There are a range of titles in our Black History Month collection and around the topics of health and wellbeing. As proponents of bibliotherapy highlight, books can be an invaluable source of support in times of emotional turmoil and provide guidance with life’s common challenges. We are also open to suggestions. If you feel something is missing from our reading for pleasure collection, let us know by emailing abinsfel@sgul.ac.uk.

Trade Unions

The following: -

  • British Medical Association (BMA)
  • Unite the Union
  • University and College Union (UCU)

Offer advice and guidance to support mental health and wellbeing  on their websites. Click here to find out more.

Support in returning to site 

While many staff have worked on site throughout the pandemic, we recognise that some who have been based remotely for many months will be anxious or unsure about returning to site. 

  • Advice, guidance and resources regarding returning to work

Anticipatory anxiety is where a person experiences increased levels of anxiety by thinking about an event or situation in the future.' Anxiety UK have produced some information on Anticipatory Anxiety. You can download their booklet through the link below here.

  • Managing team wellbeing

‘Considering how much time we spend at work, it’s not surprising that workplace environments and culture affect our wellbeing.’ https://www.mind.org.uk/

Resources to support those leading teams to support team wellbeing and individuals: 

Team Wellbeing and Resilience - Reflect, reconnect and reset resource from Robertson Cooper (PDF)

Can you tell if someone is struggling?  - BBC news story.

Managers and leaders are staff too and we would encourage you to apply the same principles and care to your own health and wellbeing as you do to your team.

Access to related policies

 

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