Mental Health First Aid
Within NHLI and Imperial we are striving to break down the stigma associated with mental health and provide first class support for staff and students with mental health issues. As part of this initiative we have Mental Health First Aiders (MHFAs) within the department who are available to provide you with a safe space to start a confidential conversation about your mental health and signpost you to the most appropriate support. MHFAs are people who have put themselves forward for the role and undertaken the NHS MHFA training course.
NHLI has a number of Mental Health First Aiders on different campuses, but you are also welcome to contact a MHFA from a different department, if you prefer. There is a full list of MHFAs from across the College on their Mental Health First Aid webpages. For more information about College support for staff with mental health issues view the College's advice and support.
Postgraduate students are also welcome to contact their personal tutor with mental health issues or queries should they wish. We also have two welfare tutors for postgraduate students Dr Charlotte Dean is the Senior Welfare Tutor for PGR students and Dr Duncan Rogers is Senior Welfare Tutor for PGT. Full support available to students can be found in the College's Student Support Zone.
Working from home but want to get in touch?
No problem. Even with staff and students working from home you can still get in touch with your Mental Health First Aiders by email and arrange to talk, either over the phone or via Microsoft Teams that allows a virtual face-to-face chat. Everyone just has to provide their own cup of tea!
Don't hesitate to get in touch with any of the MHFAs listed below and staff can contact Confidential Care by phone or email.
Mental Health First Aiders at NHLI
Please refer to the MHFAiders Contact List (Excel) if you wish to contact a MHFA based in NHLI or the wider College.
Interested in becoming a Mental Health First Aider?
If you are interested in becoming a MHFA please discuss this with your line manager. At this time we are looking for more academics and men to be trained, to increase the diversity of our MHFAs. Details on the training course and available dates can be found on the Mental Health First Aid accreditation webpages.
by Gale Lewis one of our MHFAs
I signed up for the Mental Health First Aider training as I have always felt that I am an approachable person and genuinely care about people’s wellbeing. Despite a lot of work being done to break down the stigma of mental health, unfortunately a lot of people still feel that the stigma prevales.
The role of Mental Health First Aider is not to act as counsellor, but to act as an empathetic and non-judgemental ear and be able to guide people in the right direction. We recognise that if you are struggling with issues such as stress, depression or just a general feeling of being unwell it is sometimes difficult to navigate your way through websites to find out what to do next. This is basically where we fit in, to listen and to guide you in the right direction. Having been at the College for a very long time I have had time to find my way round its complexities, but for new staff or staff that have not encountered issues like this before this can be daunting.
The role is strictly confidential and no information is ever passed on to anyone in the College or kept on record. What happens between the member of staff and the Mental Health First Aider stays strictly between the people involved. Anyone wishing to approach a Mental Health First Aider need not worry about having to give a lot of information. They do not have to give many details or anything personal, it is entirely up to the individual. The main objective is to give guidance to where to go next for help.
Over the years I have dealt with a few quite complex cases that have been resolved over a period of time, and also many cases where someone just needs someone to talk to and sometimes this is enough. I have found this activity a very rewarding part of my job.
Someone I spoke to has commented "I approached Gale when I was struggling with something professionally that was threatening to take over my entire life, both at work and outside of it - the potential impact of these issues on my future was also very large. I was finding it difficult to deal with the enormity of this alone, and also to mobilise things at a departmental and institutional level without any support. Talking things over with Gale really changed everything for me. She was full of empathy, but at the same time maintained her objectivity, which helped us tease out the best plan of action going forward. Gale was also incredibly proactive about helping me find the right people and the right departments to approach with my problems. She regularly checks up on me even now, and just having her around makes me feel supported, which in turn means I work better and more productively".