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Nuffield Department of Medicine                                        MHFA England


We all have mental health and, just like our physical health, it needs looking after to ensure we stay well. The evidence shows that if people who are experiencing the early symptoms of mental ill health feel able to talk about them – particularly in the workplace – it can prevent these symptoms from developing into illness. 

In 2020 we established a partnership with Mental Health First Aid England to provide awareness briefing sessions and develop a Mental Health Ally programme for NDM staff.  Our aim is to raise awareness of Mental Health, reduce stigma and improve peer support for staff in NDM.

NDM Mental Health Allies (MHAs) have completed a two-day mental health first-aid training course, accredited by Mental Health England.  After completing the training the MHAs will be equipped with the skills to recognise and respond to the signs and symptoms of mental health problems or crises.

NDM Mental Health Allies provide an additional avenue of initial support to staff. They do not take the place of HR or professionally qualified staff within the University or elsewhere and you may choose to contact them or not. HR remain at all times available to discuss any issues you are having. If you would like to speak with someone in the NDM HR team please contact us.

If you are interested in becoming a mental health ally please contact Learning & Development

How can a Mental Health Ally help?       

Mental Health Allies can act as an initial point of contact for staff experiencing a mental health issue or emotional distress. They are trained to recognise the symptoms of mental ill-health.  They are not trained to be therapists or psychiatrists but they can give you initial support and signpost you to appropriate help if required.

  • Available for supportive conversation
  • Listen non-judgementally
  • Maintain confidentiality as appropriate
  • Guide you to obtaining further appropriate help, whether through professional support or self-help resources.

Please feel free to get in touch with any of the Mental Health Allies (details at the bottom of this page) and pass on this information to any staff member of NDM who you think might benefit from having an informal chat with someone at a convenient location that suits them. 

Please note an MHA will only be available during work hours. They may also not be able to respond immediately but will arrange a time to call or meet up. 

Resources for out of hours and urgent support are available in the further resources section below. 

Further  resources 

Colleague in crisis  - Referring someone to get urgent support in a mental health crisis. The University has a webpage about how and when to seek support if a member of staff is in a mental health crisis, or is struggling to cope: Mental Health Employee guide 

Employee Assistance Programme (EAP)  - The university now offer a confidential employee benefit designed to help you deal with your personal and professional problems that could be affecting your home life or work life, health and general wellbeing 

Shout is the UK's first and only free, confidential, 24/7 text messaging support service for anyone who is struggling to cope Text SHOUT to 85258 

24/7 Mental Health Helpline for Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire - This NHS service operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week for people who need mental health care, support or advice when their situation is not life threatening. It supports people of all ages including children and older adults.

Togetherall (previously Big White Wall) Togetherall, is an online peer-to-peer support community. The service is free and support is available 24/7 from anywhere via a web browser.  All you need is an active university e-mail address (select “I’m from a University or College” when you register)

Samaritans - Whatever you're going through, a Samaritan will face it with you. Available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Call 116 123

SANEline  - a national out-of-hours mental health helpline offering specialist emotional support, guidance and information to anyone affected by mental illness, including family, friends and carers.  Open every day of the year from 4.30pm to 10.30pm on 0300 304 7000.

National Suicide Prevention Helpline UK Offers a supportive listening service to anyone with thoughts of suicide. Open 24/7 call 0800 689 5652 

Occupational  Health - For further guidance on available online resources, and to find out how the University of Oxford Occupational Health service may be able to help, please visit their website

NDM HR - Available to support with any work-related queries and to facilitate Occupational Health referrals where appropriate.

NDM Health and wellbeing pages -  Highlighted some resources and tools to support you in staying mentally and physically healthy

If you wish to explore more options, there are a number of websites below which you may find useful:

NHS - You can call for 24-hour advice and support - for you, your child, your parent or someone you care for NHS urgent mental health helplines 

Helplines Partnership For more options, visit the Helplines Partnership website for a directory of UK helplines. 

Mental Health England