Insights from a Wellbeing Champion

jarlath brine photo

Jarlath Brine (he/ him), Staff Development Manager (Engineering), shares some thoughts about his experience of being Wellbeing Champion, the benefits for both him and colleagues of the network, as well as the challenges posed by wellbeing.


What is a Wellbeing Champion?

A champion is part of a volunteer network promoting and raising awareness of and signposting University and external wellbeing resources. The champion network shares best practice and personal recommendations, helps to put on departmental/ divisional activities, gives feedback to and is supported by Frances Parkes and Jo Mason, the programme leads.

Why did I decide to become one?

I set up a wellbeing programme in a previous role, was already heavily involved with MPLS mental health and wellbeing awareness events as part of my day-to-day job, so being a Champion was a logical next step. It also aligns nicely to my wider professional passions, where I am an active Tennis coach with an interest in the psychology of performance, and managing athletes through this, and valuing equally players having pure fun or enjoying high-level competition.

What do I enjoy about it?

Finding out new things and coming across exciting resources. A small positive of Covid was that it did generate content sharing, raised awareness of wellbeing more generally, and made free podcasts/ webinars accessible. Some of the more interesting are hosted by Jeremy Snape “Inside the Mind of Champions,” and George Anderson “A Bit of a Boost.” 

What are the challenges?

There is a vast amount of wellbeing information out there now, so having so many local and national resources to signpost can be confusing and ironically become overwhelming. The other key is not championing your own enthusiasm for an activity that works for you while losing sight of what could be beneficial for others. Let people choose whether to knit, walk, meditate, Zumba, park run, watch a box set, sit in the sun or whatever hits their mark.

What are my top tips?

Keeping it simple. The complexity of wellbeing is that “one size fits one,” with my wellbeing needs different from yours, and accordingly being met differently. So, clear signposting to what is available is the best service we can provide. Facilitating “taster” sessions and small-scale events in departments is an incredibly positive and visible way of offering ideas and encouraging people to check in and at the very least be more confident having wellbeing conversations. Tea and biscuits are a must!

Become a Wellbeing Champion!

If you are interested in becoming a Wellbeing Champion, please visit our information page. More details about the role and the application can be found here.