How We Support Mental Health in ESE
What we offer
Mental health awareness within the Department of Earth Science & Engineering comprises a Mental Health Awareness Team (MHAT) and mental-health first aiders. Members of the team have specialised knowledge in particular areas of the department so we encourage you to speak to the team member most closely associated with your role.
Mental Health Awareness Team Chair
The Mental Health Awareness Team Chair is supported by the Head of Department regarding initiatives to improve the department culture surrounding mental health, and to suggest changes in the way mental health response is implemented. The Chair also is the designated Earth Science & Engineering Mental Health Champion, representing the department at faculty or college level for all things related to mental health and mental health policy. The current chair is Cédric John.
Members of the Mental Health Awareness Team
There are six people in the Mental Health Awareness Team. All trained mental health first aiders will be able to listen to your concerns and provide you with information about options for further help, but depending on your role within the department you might benefit from contacting the below persons first.
- Undergraduate Students: Emma Passmore (Senior Tutor) provides spport for undergraduate students. Undergraduate students experiencing mental health issues are welcome to first contact either their Personal Tutor, or the Senior Tutor (currently Ian Bastow during Emma’s maternity leave).
- MSc Students: Peter Fitch (Senior Teaching Fellow) oversees the MSc Students for the Mental Health Awareness Team. Pete is also the first point of contact for any MSc students experiencing difficulties related to mental health during their studies.
- PhD Students: Rebecca Bell (Lecturer) and Amanda Allotey oversee the PhD Students contingent on the MHAT. PhD students have a range of choices when it comes to first contact. They can talk to their direct supervisors, to either Dr Rebecca Bell or Amanda Allotey, or to the deputy of the director for graduate studies in charge of their section: Stephen Neethling for Energy, Environment, Modelling & Minerals, Sam Krevor for Petroleum Geology and Engineering, or Saskia Goes for Earth & Planets.
- All Students: all students are welcome to contact the Student Counselling and Mental Health Advice Service. This is a free and confidential service.
- Members of Staff: Cédric John (Senior Lecturer) and Gareth Roberts represent the staff contingent on the MHAT. This includes post-doctoral research associates and fellows, who are members of staff. Gareth is the current Post-doc champion, and thus a natural first point of contact for any postdoc concerned about mental health. Aside from Gareth and Cédric members of staff can also talk to their line managers, to the Occupational Health counselling services within HR, or call Confidential Care (0800 085 4764) directly. Confidential Care is a service provided by College free of charge to staff.
The benefit of contacting the above people first is that they might be better placed to advise you for your particular circumstances. However, all MHAT members are happy to talk to those in the Department of Earth Science & Engineering regardless of your role.
If I contact someone within ESE, will it be anonymous?
Mental Health first aiders are not counsellors; we are simply here to listen to you and guide you to the best available help. As such, we will work with you to find where that help may be. We will ask you if you are happy for us to discuss your case with the appropriate college services, or we can provide you with information to make contact with them directly. However, if you are clearly in danger of harming yourself or others, the first aider will have a duty of care that requires them to talk about your case to a third party. So you can be sure that your information will be treated sensitively, however, MHAT members and mental health first-aiders are required to share information in serious cases.
In addition to the MHAT, the Department has a number of trained mental health first aiders. Anyone is welcome to approach these trained staff to find out more about the College provisions for mental health. A complete list of ESE mental health first aiders can be found here.
What do I do if someone wants to talk to me about mental health?
It would be a good idea to be train as a mental health first aider if you think that you could end up in this situation. If someone comes to you for advice about mental health, be supportive and listen to them. Make sure that they understand that you cannot be their counsellor, but that you can advise them about the best course of action to take. There are also a few resources that you might want to consult:
- See above about who to contact, depending on their role within the department
- Student Mental Health Code of Practice and guidelines
- Student Space
Mental health first aid training
Mental health first aid training is available through College for anyone interested. If you do get trained, please contact someone within the Mental Health Awareness Team to ensure that you are listed as a first aider. You can also contact Peter Fitch if you wanted to coordinate a training within our department.