Mental Health in MPLS
Mental Health remains an ED&I priority for the Division and as such we are delighted to introduce a group of trained Mental Health First Aiders to support staff and students across the Division. You can find profiles and contact details below (in alphabetical order), along with a range of resources available both within and outside of the University for anyone who wants further support.
We have all undertaken MHFA England-certified training. We are here to listen and talk to you, with any issues that you want to discuss. Please be assured that we will treat any contact and conversation with the utmost discretion and confidentiality and will only escalate issues in an emergency.
Get in touch with us either directly using our contact details below or via our confidential email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
There is also a trained group of MHFAs specifically within Plant Sciences and Zoology, for staff and students in those departments.
Isidro Abreu Sanchez (he/him)
Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow, Biology
In the university, I am Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow in the Department of Plant Sciences (now Biology), working on the mineral nutrition of a group of beneficial bacteria called rhizobia. I am also friend, partner, and now father. All our selfs bring its own ups and downs, specially when we have little or no support network (pandemics, expats...), therein the importance of self-care and mental wellbeing. If you want to speak (English or Spanish), feel free to contact me via email (email@example.com).
Cláudia Teixeira Azevedo (she/her)
Project Portfolio Manager, Physics
Claudia plays an essential part in ensuring that the complex portfolio of seven grants are managed efficiently and effectively. Her role covers the financial and personnel management; coordination and reporting; and communication of progress and results. Claudia has been a member of the Physics Project Manager's team since 2020.
In her previous roles at the university (MPLS and Department of Economics), Claudia has worked in science project management, funding, and research facilitation.
She was awarded a PhD in Gerontology and Geriatrics from the University of Porto in collaboration with the Oxford Institute of Population Ageing, University of Oxford.
Feel free to contact Cláudia directly via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Carole Bateille (she/her)
Postdoc Researcher, Medicinal Chemistry
I am a postdoctoral researcher in medicinal Chemistry based at the Chemistry Research Laboratory. Currently, I am working on the treatment of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. I have worked for the University for over 16 years, and experienced and witnessed the many ups and downs of research in a STEM subject. When I am not in the lab, I like to do some sport.
Feel free to contact Carole directly via email: email@example.com
Jon Bath (he/him)
Postdoc Researcher, Physics
I’m a postdoc in Physics and have been for many years: longer than I care to admit and long enough to know the ups and downs of postgrad and postdoc life very well. At work I make molecular machines using DNA as a construction material, at home I am learning to print with letterpress.
Feel free to contact Jon directly via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jack Common (they/them)
Communications and Engagement Officer, Biology
I work with the Department of Biology to support, facilitate and advance ED&I initiatives. I was an undergraduate here (2013-2016) and have a PhD in microbial ecology. Alongside my direct experiences of navigating Oxford, I am also familiar with the particular challenges arising from graduate study. I’m also a queer trans person from a working class background, and welcome folks seeking particular support on LGBTQIA+ issues.
Outside of work, I write experimental poetry and am involved in local grassroots community initiatives.
Feel free to contact Jack directly via email: email@example.com
Connor D’Arcy (he/him)
Innovation and Business Partnerships Associate, MPLS
Connor coordinates Space @ Oxford, which is a university-wide academic network that advances and markets Oxford’s interdisciplinary research in the space domain. His wider role is to bolster the range of business development, research funding and researcher engagement activity and he also supports the University of Oxford’s Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) Office. His past professional experience comes from working in Government, where he worked as an Operational Researcher across various Ministry of Defence and Other Government Department projects. He has an engineering background and has previously worked in industry for Airbus Defence and Space on spacecraft projects.
Connor has recently moved up from Portsmouth, where he was a case worker for local communities and residents, supporting people with diverse range of local issues. He hopes to be able to continue this now he’s based in Oxfordshire.
Connor also has late-in-life diagnoses of ADHD and dyslexia and hopes his past experiences and professional coaching can help in supporting others in similar positions.
Feel free to contact Connor directly via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ashling Gordon (she/her)
Graduate Administrator, Astrophysics
I am the Graduate Administrator in the Sub-Department of Astrophysics in the MPLS Division. I have been with the University for 13 years now and during this time I have encountered many students and colleagues suffering with mental ill health. I feel passionately about dispelling any stigma around mental health and welling and helping people to seek appropriate assistance. I would encourage anyone to speak up and ask for help should they ever find themselves experiencing a difficult time.
You are welcome to contact me directly either by phone (01865 273303) or by email Ashling.email@example.com and we can arrange to meet (either virtually or face to face) at a time and location that is convenient for you.
Lauren Haynes (she/her)
Executive Assistant to Head of Department, Personal Assistant to Senior Academics and Governance Officer, Statistics
Hello – I’m Lauren, EA to the Head of Department and PA to Senior Academics here in the Department of Statistics. My role also encompasses Governance Officer. As an assistant, I have a natural tendency to want to help others! Now as a trained Mental Health First Aider, I have some additional knowledge and tools to enable me to support those in need. Please feel free to contact me via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Teams if you want to chat.
Kirsty Heber-Smith (she/her)
MPLS Communications Manager
Kirsty is the Communications Manager for the Mathematical Physical and Life Sciences Division within the University. She’s passionate about being a Mental Health First Aider and believes mental health should be given the same level of attention as physical health. One in four people in the UK suffer from a mental health issue each year and yet two-thirds of Brits have no one to speak to about their mental health, Kirsty became a Mental Health First Aider to better assist those struggling with mental health issues.
Kirsty is currently on maternity leave - her email address will be displayed once she is back.
Amy Hinks (she/her)
Athena Swan Coordinator and Data Analyst, MPLS
Amy is the Athena Swan Coordinator and Data Analyst for the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Team in the MPLS Division. She assists departments in improving gender equality for staff and students, as well as supporting the broader work of the EDI team in the division. With a background as a DPhil student and then PDRA in the Zoology department, Amy has an insight into the pressures students and researchers may encounter. Furthermore, Amy balances work with raising two young children and can empathise with the struggles of maintaining work momentum after a career break, as both a researcher and as administrative staff.
Feel free to contact Amy directly via email: email@example.com
Daisy Hung (she/her)
Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Manager, MPLS Division
Programme Manager, Race Equality Task Force
Daisy's personal and professional passion is to create positive societal change and fight for social justice. She is working to advance equality, diversity and inclusion in the Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences Division at the University of Oxford. Alongside this role, she has been seconded to help support and shape the work of the University's Race Equality Task Force. Within MPLS, she leads a team to embed ED&I in all that we do, and cultivate a culture of inclusion and collaboration among our departments. She is also a trained mediator for Student Welfare and Support Services’ Student Resolution Service, and a Specialist Advisor for the Sexual Harassment and Violence Support Service. Before coming to Oxford, she lived in San Francisco, California, and had a varied career as a public interest lawyer representing domestic violence survivors, a careers advisor for law students, and a diversity practitioner in the legal profession.
Feel free to contact Daisy directly via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Matt Jarvis (he/him)
MPLS Associate Head for People
I am a Professor of Astrophysics and non-tutorial fellow at St Cross College. I also hold a Visiting Professorship at the University of the Western Cape, in South Africa related to the MeerKAT and Square Kilometre Array radio telescopes. Prior to this I was a Reader in Astrophysics at the University of Hertfordshire, having held postdoctoral positions at both Oxford and Leiden. My research is focused on the evolution of galaxies, how black holes may influence this evolution and how we can use galaxies to trace the underlying cosmology of our Universe. I lead several international observational surveys to address these questions.
Since 2018 I have been the chair of the physics department Equality & Diversity Committee and the Chair of the Postdoc Liaison Committee in Physics. I became Associate Head for People for the Division in May 2020. Through all my roles in academia I have always tried to support colleagues and students with their mental health and wellbeing.
When not in the office you can usually find me playing or watching sport.
Feel free to contact Matt directly via email: email@example.com
Jo Knights (she/her)
Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator, MPLS
I work with the MPLS ED&I team to advance equity, encourage diversity and advocate inclusion across the Division and wider University. Working closely with staff and students, I am responsible for delivering the Division’s ED&I Action Plan. Having joined the University in March 2021, I have gained a lot of insight about how to navigate the University and ways of working while at home in Nottingham.
I firmly believe that work should be a safe and supportive space for everyone and talking about mental health is a big part of this. I encourage anyone who wants to talk to get in touch, either through email or Teams.
Outside of work I’ll either be hiking, eating or dreaming about getting on a plane.
Feel free to contact Jo directly via Teams or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Beverley Lane (she/her)
Events Officer and ED&I Support, Statistics
I have worked in the Department of Statistics for almost 14 years. My role is Events Officer and ED&I support. I feel very privileged to have been trained as a mental health first aider and to be able to work in breaking down the stigma around mental health and supporting wellbeing in the Department.
I am married and have four grown up daughters and two young grandsons and love nothing more than having all the family together, enjoying good food and conversation.
Feel free to contact Beverley directly via email: email@example.com
Michaela Livingstone-Banks (she/her)
Public and Community Engagement with Research Manager, MPLS
Dr Michaela Livingstone-Banks (she/her) is the Public and Community Engagement with Research Manager in the MPLS Division, and is responsible for developing, implementing and monitoring the Division's Strategic Plan for Public Engagement with Research, with a focus on engagement with local communities.
I have experienced both sides of the coin in regards to supportive environments for mental health; the good and the bad. As a result, I am keen to provide the sort of compassionate support that I have found to be vital to thrive.
Feel free to contact on Michaela.firstname.lastname@example.org or drop her a message on Teams.
Izzi Mear (he/they)
Teaching and Design Engineer, Engineering
I work in the Department of Engineering Science, as part of the Teaching Support Group. I teach in various undergraduate labs, as well as supporting research. I have a PhD in mechanical engineering, and understand the pressures that can come with postgraduate as well as undergraduate study.
If you need someone to be that friendly face, or listening ear, you are welcome to contact me directly by email email@example.com, Microsoft Teams or phone (01865 283309). We can also meet virtually or face to face. Please do not feel any issue is “too small” or “too big”, I am always happy to chat.
Emily Milan (she/her)
DPhil student, Materials
I'm a first year DPhil student in the Materials Department researching solid-state batteries. Having done my undergrad here, this is my 5th year in the department, and it is wonderful to see how the importance of welfare is gaining the increased attention it merits, especially in an academic environment which can be so intense. I care strongly about addressing the stigma which sadly exists around mental health and I would love to start more open conversations on the topic. If you are struggling for whatever reason, then please do not hesitate to get in touch.
Feel free to contact Emily directly via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Leanne O’Donnell (she/her)
Astrophysics Administration Officer, Physics
I am in the Astrophysics Administration Officer along with PA to the Head of Astro. I also manage 4 ERC projects within Astro.
I have been working at Oxford University for 8 years and before that I worked at Edinburgh University for 12 years, so I am very aware of the challenges and stresses that can occur within the University environment and the strain it can put on your mental health.
When I’m not at work you can find me at home with my two children or out walking our Dog!
Feel free to contact me via Teams or email and we can arrange a convenient time to have a chat (email@example.com)
Hannah Ravenswood (they/she)
Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Facilitator - Training and Development
I am responsible for designing, delivering and facilitating Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (ED&I) related learning and training across the Division for staff and students. I support departments and the divisional office to develop and progress local People strategies and plans, providing advice regarding people and organisational development while embedding ED&I principles and sharing good practice; and is responsible for divisional ED&I projects with a particular focus on mental ill-health, disability (especially non-visible disabilities), neurodivergence (especially autism) and LGBTQ+ inclusion. Please feel free to contact me directly: Hannah.Ravenswood@mpls.ox.ac.uk
Nina Tomlin (she/her)
Administrator, Institute of Biomedical Engineering
I am the Administrator of the IBME within the Department of Engineering Science, where I am responsible for coordination and oversight of the Institute’s professional support function and for strategic and operational planning. Before taking up my current post in April 2021, I was Director of the University’s International Strategy Office, and have previously held various roles in the charity and public sector. I am also a member of the Engineering Science Department’s Equality and Diversity Committee.
I have two children and try and fit in hobbies when I can – most recently a wonderful woodworking course.
Please reach out if I can support you in any way – I am here to listen. Feel free to contact me directly via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Reka Toth (she/her)
Lecturer, Plant Sciences
I'm a departmental lecturer in Department of Plant Sciences teaching undergraduates and doing scientific research. I'm a non-British national, lived in several countries, and experienced cultural adjustment and the challenge of an academic career.
Please contact Reka through our dedicated email address: email@example.com
Nina Warren (she/her)
Office HR Manager, Begbroke Science Park
Prior to joining the University, Nina’s career was in Local Government where she experienced first-hand the impact that organisational change and uncertainty can have on people’s mental health. She is drawing on her HR background to develop her Mental Health First aid skills and to promote Mental Health and Wellbeing in the future.
Nina is a keen gardener who knows how important it is to get outdoors and connect with nature in order to improve wellbeing, and in helping you to look after yourself. “I am looking forward to being part of the MPLS team offering this support to others”.
Feel free to contact Nina directly via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Research Facilitator & Mentoring Programme Coordinator
I am a member of the Physics Department Research Facilitation Team. Along with my Facilitator colleagues, my role is to assist with all aspects of applying for research funding. I took up the post in November 2018 – returning to the Department where I had studied for my degree and DPhil many years before! I also coordinate the PostDoc mentoring activities within the Physics Department. In previous posts in my career I have worked for the EPSRC and for other Universities, particularly specialising in science project management, funding and policy roles. All this makes me very aware of the pressures of working in an academic environment and I’m keen to support colleagues facing those.
Feel free to contact Jenny directly via email: email@example.com
Mariagrazia Zottoli (she/her)
Statistical Consultant, Statistics
Thanks to my job, I have the chance to work on a variety of projects and to collaborate with many excellent professionals inside and outside the University of Oxford. I am currently taking care of "The Network" a group for PostDocs and Early Career Researchers within the Department of Statistics.
In the past I have suffered from severe anxiety, and I would have loved to know where to go and whom to ask for support.
I feel really privileged to have had the opportunity to train as a Mental Health First Aider and be a friendly face to someone who is struggling.
Please, feel free to contact me directly by email firstname.lastname@example.org.
"When we are suffering, we tend to think that the pain will last forever. However, that is simply not true. Rain always lifts; night always gives way to day; and winter always turns to spring. (Daisaku Ikeda)"
Here you can see a number of videos recorded as part of our Mental Health Awareness Week activity in May 2022 and May 2021 which highlights some of the resources available within the University. Videos include a 2022 recording from the talk by Graham Thew on "Understanding loneliness: Awareness and Action". 2021 videos include "Supporting Staff Wellbeing", "7 Key Tools to Overcoming Stress", "Support provided by the Work+Family Space", and "An Overview of Togetherall". Below these videos are a number of additional resources.
RECORDING: UNDERSTANDING LONELINESS: AWARENESS AND ACTION
Join Graham Thew, Senior Academic Clinical Psychologist at the Department of Experimental Psychology at the University of Oxford, on a talk about loneliness. Loneliness, the Mental Health Awareness Week 2022 theme, is a common experience with a range of causes. This talk will provide an overview of loneliness and its links to mental health problems, as well as considering actions we can all take to prevent loneliness, both for ourselves and others.
RECORDING: SUPPORTING STAFF WELLBEING AT THE UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD
Les Wright, Interim Director of Occupational Health and Safety, gives a short talk about the current support for staff and the Wellbeing Programme Board work plan.
RECORDING: OVERCOMING STRESS: 7 KEY TOOLS
Dr Jennifer Wild, Associate Professor & NIHR Oxford Health BRC Senior Fellow, Department of Experimental Psychology discusses how certain people overcome enormous stress and anxiety, while others struggle. She presents seven key tools that can help us manage stress and anxiety in our own lives and examine the science of why they work.
RECORDING: AN OVERVIEW OF SUPPORT PROVIDED BY THE WORK+FAMILY SPACE
Join our session to understand how the University’s Work+Family Space can work for you! The Work+Family Space platform is available to all University Staff and provides a wealth of wellbeing resources and information for everyone (not just those with caring responsibilities)!
RECORDING: AN OVERVIEW OF TOGETHERALL
All students and staff at the University of Oxford can access Togetherall’s 24 hour, safe online mental health support. Pete Mandeville from Student Welfare and Support Services gives an overview of the service with opportunity for Q&A afterwards.
Other USEFUL RESOURCES
Guidance for working from home
- Working from home guide for University staff
- HR Support: Tips for working from home
- HR Support: Your home office
- HR Support: Guidance for employees and managers
- IT Services: Adjusting to working from home
- IT Services: Guidance for teaching remotely
- IT Services: making the most of Chorus
- Information Security: Advice
- Information Security: Phishing and email
- How to work from home, the right way (BBC)
- Staying Focused When You're Working From Home (MindTools)
- Supporting your mental health while working from home (Mental Health First Aid (England))
Your health and wellbeing
- Occupational Health at the University of Oxford
- HR Support: Sources of support for wellbeing
- Guidance for the public on mental health and wellbeing (gov.uk)
- Suggestions from Dept. of Experimental Psychology on looking after our mental health
- My Whole Self: Support your mental health whilst working from home (MHFAE)
- Oxford Mindfulness Centre - free online Mindfulness sessions open to all
- Oxfordshire Mind: Coronavirus and your wellbeing
- As University staff members, you can join the University Sports Centre on Iffley Road at a discounted rate
- Employee Counselling Service - free to all University staff and your families
- Understanding and managing eating disorders
- Overcoming sleep problems
- Togetherall - an online peer-to-peer support community offering discussions mediated by mental health professionals, self-learning courses and resources. Register for free and select "I'm from a University or college"
- Oxfordshire Mind - for additional practical resources to support your wellbeing during coronavirus
- Headspace - learn to manage feelings and thoughts with the lifelong skill of everyday mindfulness. Headspace offer free taster sessions, some basic introductions and practices, and resources ranging across guided meditations (a new one every day), animations, articles and videos.
- Virtual tours of the Botanic Gardens
- The Lockdown Walks series
Useful links for your family
- Work and Family Space (formerly My Family Care)
- Resources for children & families (Bright Horizons)
- OxfordOwl - free online books for children from Oxford University Press
- Supporting children and young people with worries about COVID-19 (Emerging Minds)
- How to Talk to Your Child about Coronavirus(UNICEF)
- Take part in a new Psychiatry & Experimental Psychology study - tell us how your family is coping with challenges of COVID-19 so we can understand how to help
Additional links and resources
- Specific advice and support for students
- Information for staff with pre-existing mental health conditions and for those in the neurodivergent community
- HR Support
- Using HR Self Service - Access your payslip online | Update your contact details
- Safety Office: Advice & FAQ's
- Bodleian Update - Online Access | Ebooks | ORLO | Support
- Government guidance on coronavirus