Mental Health First Aider Resources

This page aims to inform Mental Health First Aiders (MHFAiders) on the continuing development and support available to them at the University level. All MHFAiders are also encouraged to take up the support available to them through their areas. Explore the opportunities available to you below.


It is necessary for all MHFAiders to maintain their knowledge and skills after initial training.

Theses masterclasses are run by qualified counsellors from the University Student Counselling Service and will cover different aspects of mental health.


Each masterclass will last 60-75 minutes.


These masterclasses are not only open to MHFAiders but also to all University staff in welfare roles. We recommend each MHFAider attend a minimum of two masterclasses per year.


Each masterclass is charged at £40 per person. 

Book here

To register your attendance at a Masterclass please use this Form.

For further information, please email


Masterclass: Wired, Tired, Fired, Desired? Navigating the Emotional Tasks of Young Adulthood with ‘Generation Z’ by Dr Elizabeth Edginton, Child and Adolescent Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist

When: Thursday 9th May, 11am -12.30pm 

Where: 3 Worcester Street

Drawing on straightforward psychoanalytic concepts and recent research undertaken at the University of Oxford, this interactive Masterclass will explore some of the key emotional tasks of young adulthood and how students born around the turn of the millennium might be navigating them. Themes will include growing up in the digital age, separating from parents/carers and curating identities, contemporary expectations of work and future careers, exploring friendships and intimate relationships, and the present generation’s ideas about mental health and wellbeing. There will be the opportunity to compare and contrast some of our own experiences of growing up with those of our students, and to consider how we can draw on our personal reflections to help the current generation practically with the process of coming of age.

Elizabeth is a Senior Child and Adolescent Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist who trained and worked clinically for 14 years in the NHS where she also led National Institute of Health Research funded research. She has taught on the doctoral programmes of an NHS regional training school and of the Anna Freud Centre, has worked at Warwick University’s Counselling Service, and now works at the Oxford University’s Counselling Service and in private practice.


Masterclass: Supporting International Students to Thrive at Oxford: a Mental Health and Cultural Perspective by Sara Hitchens MBACP Senior Accredited

When: Tuesday 21st May, 10 – 11.30am 

Where: 3 Worcester Street

There are an increasing number of international students at Oxford, both postgraduate and undergraduate. These students face some unique challenges which can get in the way of their academic achievement and have a negative impact on their psychological well-being.  Sara Hitchens, counsellor at the University Counselling Service, and a therapist with a particular interest and expertise in intercultural issues, will overview some of these challenges. This Masterclass will include an exploration of the emotional distress experienced by international students when their overseas relatives are facing individual difficulties or collective trauma and will offer thoughts on how best to support such students. 

Sara is a Senior Accredited member of the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP).  She has worked for the Oxford University Counselling Service for the last five years, both as a Counsellor and Clinical Supervisor. Sara has lived and worked in Spain, France, Pakistan, and most recently in Japan.  


Masterclass: Thinking About Mental Health: Supporting Students Who Can’t Work by Denise Maley MBACP

When: Wednesday 29th May, 3pm – 4.15pm

Where: Online

This workshop is aimed at members of staff wishing to understand more about the underlying dynamics impacting students who may find themselves stuck with an aspect of their academic work, or indeed all of it. Themes to be explored while considering common student experiences at Oxford, include symbolism, transitions and endings within the academic cycle, motivation, fear, procrastination, and perfectionism. The workshop will also include guidance on how to identify signs of student distress where difficulties with academic performance is a key factor and offer suggestions on how best they can support such students appropriately.

Denise is an MBACP Accredited integrative psychotherapist working in the University Counselling Service. She delivers ‘Can’t Work’, a popular weekly term time student workshop, supporting students to explore their relationship with working well enough at Oxford. Denise has broader affiliations and experience with workplace relationships and performance following a 20-year international HR career and as a former executive member of the BACP Workplace Executive Division.


Masterclass: Thinking About Mental Health: Responding to Panic Attacks in Students and Colleagues by Dr Ruth Collins, Staff Mental Health and Skills Training Service Lead

When: Thursday 6th June, 10 – 11.30am

Where: 3 Worcester Street

A panic attack is an extreme episode of anxiety triggering physical and emotional symptoms that can feel intensely distressing. Although frightening, the symptoms of panic are not dangerous. Panic attacks are remarkably common, and it is not unlikely that you will find yourself supporting a student or a colleague experiencing a panic attack at some point. This 90-minute psychoeducational workshop will give an overview of the biology and psychology of panic, explore the common signs and symptoms of panic, provide an understanding of what triggers and maintains panic, and give practical advice and guidance on how to help and support a student or a colleague experiencing a panic attack, based on a cognitive behavioural approach.

Ruth is a Chartered Psychologist with experience of working in a range of clinical settings including the NHS. As well as overseeing staff mental health and skills training, Ruth works for the University as a counsellor, clinical supervisor, and research tutor. She also maintains a private therapy practice. Ruth has a special interest in panic having spent five years working on an NHS outreach treatment programme for individuals diagnosed with panic disorder, delivering cognitive behavioural interventions for panic in the community.

For further information about any of the masterclasses above, please email

Reflective Practice

Reflective practice is a system of supervision whereby a group of 8 to 10 MHFAiders meet with a qualified counsellor once a term to discuss challenges they have faced in their role, seek professional guidance and share best practice. 
Each group will remain the same throughout the academic year. Each MHFAider participating will be expected to commit to attending the 3 sessions over the year. Dates and times will be set for each group by the Counselling Service. 


Each reflective practice session lasts 60 minutes.


These reflective practice sessions are aimed at trained MHFAiders only. 


The cost for three sessions is £75 per person. This fee is expected to be paid up front by the MHFAider's department/college to the Counselling Service. The full fee will be charged whether you attend all three sessions or not.

Register your interest here

Peer Support

We would also like to highlight the importance of peer support. 

To share best practice, ideas and concerns with your peers, please join the University of Oxford Mental Health First Aiders Peer Support Group. Please note, access to this group is restricted to those who have received Mental Health First Aider Training and who are active as Mental Health First Aiders within their teams.  


Resources for staff-facing Mental Health First Aiders

If a staff member is experiencing a mental health crisis, please signpost to one of these services.

There are many other resources and services you can signpost to, here are some of them: 

Resources for student-facing Mental Health First Aiders

The Student Welfare and Support Services provide support to students during their studies. Services include the Counselling Service, Disability Advisory Service, the Sexual Harassment and Violence Support Service and the Student Resolution Service. More information on these services can be found here. The student-facing page which lists these services and more can be found here

Welfare contact resources for college welfare leads are listed on the Joint Student Mental Health Committee SharePoint site

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Contact us 

Meet the team

Frances Parkes – Wellbeing Programme Manager