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Since 2021, MPLS have been running a programme of activity for Mental Health Awareness Week, which annually falls in May. Details for the 2022 programme can be found below. This page will be updated soon with details for 2023.

Mental Health Awareness Week 2022 banner. Notes that theme is loneliness

The theme for the week this year is loneliness, so along with workshops, talks and training sessions discussing mental health and wellbeing strategies, we hope to facilitate opportunities for staff and students to meet colleagues, friends and peers throughout the week. We are delivering a combination of online and in-person activities. 

Details on what is on offer throughout the week can be seen below, with more sessions being added shortly. 

Sign up TO ALL SESSIONS via this Form

If you have any queries or comments, please contact us via diversity@mpls.ox.ac.uk

THROUGHOUT MHAW 2022

We are delighted to offer an exciting wellbeing opportunity over the course of Mental Health Awareness Week. CREO Well-Being Programme for Entrepreneurs and Researchers enables learners to embark on a transformative journey to experiment what best suits them in terms of wellness. Learners will be able to connect with their inner being and prioritise their well-being on all levels. CREO’s learning methodology equips its learners with frameworks, tools, and templates that will help them align their personal wellness with their professional goals through self-paced, interactive and gamified learning, 15 min daily for 7 days. Receive daily notifications to work on your personal wellbeing throughout the week. All welcome to register - sign up either via our Form (link above) or directly on their page. 

Monday 9 May

12:00-13:00                            ONLINE                                            

BOOKINGS NOW CLOSED

ACTIVITY: Tai chi over Zoom

This Tai Chi Class will be run by Tom Goldblyth, who has been teaching Tai Chi since 2003 and doing lots of work in mental health as the Tai Chi teacher for Khiron House for over 10 years. The session will be tailored for beginners and will be held on Zoom. We are running an additional session on Friday, in the University Parks.

12:00-13:00

IN-PERSON

BOOKINGS NOW CLOSED

ACTIVITY: Walk around University Parks

Join us for an easy amble around University Parks! We know the importance of taking a bit of time away from work, so wanted to give everyone the opportunity to get out and about throughout the week, meet friends and colleagues and (hopefully!) enjoy some sunshine. All welcome, all encouraged to join!

13:00-14:00

ONLINE

BOOKINGS NOW CLOSED

TALK: Thinking about mental health: supporting students in distress

Dr Ruth Collins, Staff Mental Health Training Development Coordinator for the University, will present an overview of her role. Ruth is leading the development and delivery of training for staff in line with the Student Wellbeing and Mental Health Strategy, to promote through training a consistent approach to student welfare across the institution. The training she is offering incorporates relevant material from the nationally recognised Mental Health First Aid syllabus, but is tailored to the specific needs of Oxford students. Ruth will also discuss the importance of self-care when working in a support role. This session is relevant to all students/staff with welfare or support roles. 

14:00-15:00

ONLINE AND IN-PERSON

BOOKINGS NOW CLOSED

PANEL: Building and finding your support networks

Whilst Oxford can often feel a lonely place there are lots of networks and groups which exist across MPLS and the University through which you can meet new friends and colleagues. Come along to our panel discussion to hear about personal experiences and some of the networks which exist across MPLS and the University. Hear from our speakers Dr Clara Barker (LGBT+ Staff Network), Liam Guilfoyle (OxRSS), Sarah Stephenson-Hunter (Staff Disability Advisor) and Saqlain Choudary (Graduate Welfare and Social Officer for the Islamic Society) about why networks are important, how they work, and how you can find and get involved with the right network for you. More speakers to be added.

18:00-19:00

ONLINE

BOOKINGS NOW CLOSED

ACTIVITY: Cook-along

Join Beverley Lane from the Department of Statistics for a family-friendly, easy and fun online cooking tutorial with a Queen’s Jubilee theme. Recipes for cream scones and Jubilee cupcakes will be shared in advance! Ingredient options for those with specific dietary requirements will also be included.

Tuesday 10 May

8:30-10:00   

IN-PERSON                                                       

BOOKINGS NOW CLOSED

ACTIVITY: Private view of Pissarro at The Ashmolean

Start your morning with a stroll through the tranquil and inspirational galleries of the Ashmolean Museum. Enjoy exclusive private access to their current special exhibition, Pissarro: Father of Impressionism, featuring 120 works, 80 by Pissarro and 40 by his friends and contemporaries, with eight paintings on display for the first time in this country. Even if you’re not a lover of art, take the opportunity to start the day doing something different and meet fellow colleagues over a hot beverage.

10:30-11:30

ONLINE

BOOKINGS NOW CLOSED

WORKSHOP: Supporting ourselves and others

Part of the MPLS ED&I Training Programme, this workshop explores: What does it mean to be resilient, what does self-care really mean and how can we best support ourselves and others?

12:00-13:00

IN-PERSON

BOOKINGS NOW CLOSED

ACTIVITY: Walk around University Parks

Join us for an easy amble around University Parks! We know the importance of taking a bit of time away from work, so wanted to give everyone the opportunity to get out and about throughout the week, meet friends and colleagues and (hopefully!) enjoy some sunshine. All welcome, all encouraged to join!

12:30-13:00

ONLINE

BOOKINGS NOW CLOSED

TALK: 'Understanding Loneliness: Awareness and Action’

Join Graham Thew, Senior Academic Clinical Psychologist at the Department of Experimental Psychology, on a talk about loneliness. Loneliness 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.

14:00-15:00

IN-PERSON

BOOKINGS NOW CLOSED

WORKSHOP: Mindfulness for Mental Health

Mindfulness has been theoretically and empirically associated with psychological well-being. It is a NICE recommended treatment for individuals experiencing recurrent depression, severe pain and chronic illness, and is also recognised as being a skilful approach to maximising general wellbeing and flourishing. This experiential workshop will provide a practical introduction to Mindfulness and how it can be used to support individual health and well-being.

Dr Ruth Collins is a Chartered Psychologist and an experienced mindfulness teacher delivering mindfulness courses and workshops in a variety of settings. Ruth is employed by Oxford University as a Counsellor, Clinical Supervisor and Research Tutor and is a Teaching Partner at the Oxford Mindfulness Centre.

While all are welcome to sign up immediately, there is a capacity limit of 35, so spaces will be allocated to MPLS staff/students first, then wider University on a first come first serve basis. 

16:00-17:30

ONLINE

BOOKINGS NOW CLOSED

WORKSHOP: Refocus, reenergise and bounce forwards

This interactive and participatory webinar session aims to provide researchers with the space to focus on themselves, review where they are now and gain a renewed perspective on their next steps and goals. Participants will have the opportunity to reflect on what helps them be at their best, what motivates them and how to bounce ‘forward’ with resiliency in times of uncertainty. While all are welcome to sign up immediately, there is a capacity limit of 30, so spaces will be allocated to MPLS staff/students first, then wider University on a first come first serve basis. 

Wednesday 11 May

11:00-13:00

ONLINE                                                                                         

BOOKINGS NOW CLOSED

TALK/WORKSHOP: Navigating social anxiety and the impact of social distancing as we re-enter the workplace

Join Rebecca Reed from Siendo at a wellbeing session tailored to the needs of the University of Oxford to provide attendees with the knowledge, tools and confidence to support themselves and their colleagues in their return back to the workplace.

The talk will be structured around the MHAW theme of loneliness, with topical links to the current COVID situation. With the change of restrictions and the movement back into the workplace, this talk will look at the social anxiety that so many people are currently experiencing around this shift.

Social skills are like any other skill. If they're not used frequently, they atrophy. We have all spent the last two years avoiding other humans; we have been told that socialising is to be avoided and other people have become a threat. This has a huge impact on how we connect with those around us and the quality of our social skills going forward.

Therefore, for this talk, we will explore the general levels of anxiety people are feeling about socialising and being around others again and we will focus on how to recalibrate your social skills after the experience of the last two years in order to reduce loneliness and social anxiety and effectively re-engage in the workplace.

12:00-12:15

ONLINE

BOOKINGS NOW CLOSED

ACTIVITY: Mindful Movement

Too much time sitting at your desk? Not enough time to get out for a walk or exercise? Join Alison Brindle (MSD) for a 15-minute, low impact and relaxing session focusing on simple stretches and gentle movement. No special equipment or previous knowledge required. No sweat expected, and yes, you can keep your camera off!! While Alison is not a trained physio, she learned these exercises while visiting a retreat centre in France a few years back. They are based on the 10 Mindful Movements practice of Thich Nhat Hanh.

13:00-14:00

ONLINE

BOOKINGS NOW CLOSED

TALK: Let's Talk About The Menopause

The ‘change’, ‘the time of life’ – call it what you will, it is a fact that most women go through the perimenopause and a menopause. Yet, it is often still a subject of embarrassment and myths.
Did you know there are a huge range of symptoms including, anxiety, joint pain and depression that can be part of the menopause? It’s not just about hot flushes I can work with of the peri and menopause.
The aim of the session is
  • Learn what peri menopause and the menopause are and what we can expect
  • Explore what we can do to help ourselves during and leading up to the menopause
  • Understand the emotional and physical challenges of this stage in a women’s life
  • Look at how peri and the menopause can affect work and relationships
Further reading will be provided

13:30-14:30 (NOW FULL)

15:00-16:00

(NOW FULL)

IN-PERSON

BOOKINGS NOW CLOSED

ACTIVITY AND TALK: Botanic Gardens Walk and Talk

Join Stephen Harris, the Druce Curator of the Oxford Herbaria, who will be giving us a behind the scenes tour of the botanical treasures in the Botanic Gardens. Oxford Botanic Garden was established in 1621 with the intent of being a place to aid the teaching of medicine in the University. This tour will introduce the history of the Garden from its foundation and show how the function of Garden changed over four centuries. The focus will be on the personalities who made and used the Garden and the plants that are grown.

19:30-21:00

IN-PERSON

BOOKINGS NOW CLOSED

ACTIVITY: Piano Recital

Join us for an in-person piano recital in Oxford, in the Mary O'Brien Room at Lady Margaret Hall. Robin Stephenson, pianist and previous member of the Department of Statistics, offers an accessible and personal classical music concert, with music by Beethoven, Kapustin, Chopin and Rachmaninoff.

Thursday 12 May

10:00-12:30 

IN-PERSON                                                                              

BOOKINGS NOW CLOSED

WORKSHOP: Supporting neurodivergent staff

Part of the MPLS ED&I Training Programme, this workshop will consider the whole neurodivergent umbrella and identify some practical ways in which we can better support our staff who fall under this umbrella. This session will be led by and informed by those with lived experience.

10:50-11:50

IN-PERSON

NO LONGER TAKING BOOKINGS - FULL CAPACITY

ACTIVITY: Life, the Universe, and my sketchbook

Enter the History of Science Museum, the oldest purpose-built public museum in the world (which opened in 1683) and come and enjoy a short introduction to objects that explore our connection to each other across time and to the universe itself, followed by a space to sketch and relax. No skill level needed – everyone is welcome to come and enjoy this mindful activity. Sketchbooks are provided and can be taken home as a keepsake. There is a session on Friday if you can't make this one. 

12:00-13:00

IN-PERSON

BOOKINGS NOW CLOSED

ACTIVITY: Wellbeing Dog Walk

Wellbeing Dog Walk (in partnership with Oxford SU) - Thursday 12th May at 12pm. Meet at Keble Gate, University Parks. All dogs and humans welcome - humans do not need to own a dog to join in! 

Join us for a relaxing, wellbeing walk in the park with some friendly dogs. (For information about other SU wellbeing events, please contact wellbeing@oxfordsu.ox.ac.uk).

12:00-13:00

IN-PERSON

BOOKINGS NOW CLOSED

WORKSHOP/ACTIVITY: Singing with The Oxford Belles

In person, capacity 60. 

Liven up your lunchtime with an hour of singing, courtesy of the University’s original all-female-identifying a cappella group. This Thursday 12 May, you could be an Oxford Belle for the day - doing our vocal warm-ups, singing sections from our songs, and performing with us at the end. Everybody welcome, and absolutely no experience required - just a willingness to learn and live out your pop star dreams. Hope to see lots of you there!

16:00-17:30

ONLINE

NO LONGER TAKING BOOKINGS - FULL CAPACITY

WORKSHOP: Dealing with imposter syndrome

Ever walked into a meeting and questioned your right to be there? Have you ever taken on a new job and then you felt you weren’t really the right person for it? For many people this is a common life experience and one which can be quite debilitating if left unchecked. This session focuses in identifying the implications for yourself and your work environment of the set of related behaviours that are often referred to under the title of ‘imposter syndrome’. While all are welcome to sign up immediately, there is a capacity limit of 30, so spaces will be allocated to MPLS staff/students first, then wider University on a first come first serve basis. 

Friday 13 May

10:50-11:50 

IN-PERSON                                                                                       

BOOKINGS NOW CLOSED

ACTIVITY: Life, the Universe, and my sketchbook

Enter the History of Science Museum, the oldest purpose-built public museum in the world (which opened in 1683) and come and enjoy a short introduction to objects that explore our connection to each other across time and to the universe itself, followed by a space to sketch and relax. No skill level needed – everyone is welcome to come and enjoy this mindful activity. Sketchbooks are provided and can be taken home as a keepsake. 

9:30-13:30

IN-PERSON

BOOKINGS NOW CLOSED

TRAINING: 'Mental Health Aware' Training

In-person, Mathematical Institute

Led by Imogen at Siendo, ‘Mental Health Aware’ is a fantastic four-hour, introductory course designed to increase mental health awareness, as well as improve our understanding of how to look after our own wellbeing.

This course will cover:

  • Understanding mental health and how to challenge stigma;
  • A basic knowledge of some common mental health conditions;
  • An introduction to looking after your own mental health and wellbeing;
  • Confidence to support someone in distress or someone experiencing a mental health issue.

By the end of the course:

  • You will have some practical tools and techniques for looking after your own mental health and wellbeing.
  • You will gain confidence in how to start conversations with people who may be experiencing mental health distress.
  • You will have an informative course manual and workbook to facilitate continued self-study.

 A big thank you to the Mathematical Institute for opening this up as part of the week.

12:00-13:00

IN-PERSON

BOOKINGS NOW CLOSED

ACTIVITY: Walk around University Parks

Join us for an easy amble around University Parks! We know the importance of taking a bit of time away from work, so wanted to give everyone the opportunity to get out and about throughout the week, meet friends and colleagues and (hopefully!) enjoy some sunshine. All welcome, all encouraged to join!

12:00-13:00

IN-PERSON

NO LONGER TAKING BOOKINGS - AT FULL CAPACITY

ACTIVITY: Tai chi in University Parks 

This Tai Chi Class will be run by Tom Goldblyth, who has been teaching Tai Chi since 2003 and doing lots of work in mental health as the Tai Chi teacher for Khiron House for over 10 years. The session will be tailored for beginners and will be held in the University Parks.

12:30-13:30

ONLINE

BOOKINGS NOW CLOSED

TALK: Support from Samaritans 

As part of this year's Mental Health Awareness Week, Matt Williams, Director of Oxford Samaritans, will offer a session about the unique listening service that Samaritans provides and share his experience of supporting those going through a tough time.  Matt will offer practical hints and tips to help us to really listen to those in crisis and suggest techniques that we can use in our everyday lives.  Matt believes that suicide prevention is everybody's business and is keen to challenge many of the misunderstandings, myths and taboos around this difficult subject.

13:45-14:00

ONLINE

BOOKINGS NOW CLOSED

ACTIVITY: Mindful Movement

Too much time sitting at your desk? Not enough time to get out for a walk or exercise? Join Alison Brindle (MSD) for a 15-minute, low impact and relaxing session focusing on simple stretches and gentle movement. No special equipment or previous knowledge required. No sweat expected, and yes, you can keep your camera off!! While Alison is not a trained physio, she learned these exercises while visiting a retreat centre in France a few years back. They are based on the 10 Mindful Movements practice of Thich Nhat Hanh.

15:30-17:00

IN-PERSON

BOOKINGS NOW CLOSED

ACTIVITY: Yarn Crafting Club

Whether you love knitting, crochet or a different yarn-based craft come join us in the Park for some crafting and chatting. Open to all regardless of your level of experience bring a project of your choice, something to sit on and come meet your fellow crafters. Join for all or part of the time.

16:00-16:40

IN-PERSON

BOOKINGS NOW CLOSED

ACTIVITY: Rent a Cow

A chance to let yourselves go a little, meet new colleagues, and ease into the weekend. The session is about having some fun with various creative thinking and drawing challenges to, hopefully, come up with unexpected solutions. All you need to bring with you is a willingness to play.

Disclaimer: You don’t need GCSE Art for the challenges, and no Cows will be harmed as part of the workshop

 

FRIDAY 27 mAY

12:00-13:00

IN-PERSON

                                                                                                                                    

ACTIVITY: Lunchtime Bird Walk in the Parks

Join Prof Ben Sheldon (Zoology) on an exploration of the birds of the University Parks and Marston Meadows. The walk will cover c. 2 km on footpaths (might be muddy in places if recent rain) and take c. 1 hour. Meet at 1200 at the South-east corner entrance to Parks (by Linacre College). We’ll focus particularly on songs of some of our commoner birds. No experience necessary, but you may want to look at this video (https://ewatlas.net/digital-heritage/learn-some-oxford-birds-while-lockdown), and download and install the Merlin Bird ID app (https://merlin.allaboutbirds.org/)  if you have a smartphone.

Bring your binoculars if you have any! 

 SIGN UP TO ALL SESSIONS VIA THIS FORM

 Mental Health Awareness Week banner displaying the dates 9-15 May and theme of 'Loneliness' highlighted in white text on a dark pink background, with the shape of textured blue sea waves below and a graphic of a small black rowing boat on the waves.