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Mental Health Awareness Week: Clare Hayns, Chaplain and Welfare Coordinator

Written by Clare Hayns, posted on Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Surviving or Thriving?

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week 2019 and we are encouraged to speak up about mental ill-health and think of ways we can support each other to thrive rather than just survive.

Students in the MeadowYou can find out more about the campaign, where the focus this year is on the all-important issue of body-image, on the Mental Health Awareness Week website.

At Christ Church we know that life can be stressful and that the combination of looming exams and academic deadlines, high expectations and time pressures can lead to physical and mental ill-health.

I spent a happy hour gardening yesterday and planted some lovely new shrubs. My hope is that with the right conditions they will thrive and blossom and by the summer I’ll have a beautiful floral display. I want my shrubs to thrive, not just survive!

There are lots of ways in which we can give ourselves the right conditions to thrive and some of these are rather similar to my plants: light, air and food! It seems a bit trite perhaps but top tips for mental and physical well-being begin with getting some exercise each day, enjoying the sunshine and eating three meals a day.

Layla (the Chaplain’s puppy) is available to be walked every day this week and so you can enjoy the beauty of the meadows, cuddle a puppy and get some exercise!


Alongside this the Welfare Team at Christ Church have planned some activities this week which we hope will help us to flourish:

Tuesday: A seminar on ‘how much stress is too much stress’ with the College Counsellor (Tuesday at 5pm) – email for a place - and Late Night Tea Break run by the Peer Support Coordinator Tegan O’Hara

Thursday: Brain Strain tea and cakes (plus fruit options) – Thursday in Killcanon 1 from 4-5pm

Friday: More dog walking in University Parks at 12 noon


Stress Less logoThere are of course times when professional support is needed to ensure we remain mentally healthy, and so please be encouraged to speak to someone if you would like advice or are worried at all about your mental health. The College GP is a good place to start.

The University Counselling Service has a wealth of resources, podcasts and information on their website.

The University also has a page - 'Stress Less' Exam Support -  dedicated to reducing anxiety and panic during revision and examinations.

The College Welfare Team is also available to you for guidance and support

  • The College Nurse (Midge) is here every weekday from 9-11am
  • The College Counsellor (Karen) – Tuesdays (booking by appointment,
  • The Chaplain and Welfare Coordinator, Clare ( – Clare lives here and is available to see anyone for a conversation at (almost!) any time. Email her for an appointment.
  • Peer Supporters – these are students who have been trained by the Counselling Service to be good listeners and supporters – you can find out who your peer supporters are via the welfare team link.

For more on looking after your mental health, take a look at these useful tips. 

So, let’s not just survive, let’s thrive.