College Life Blog

Search all blog posts

Mental Health Awareness Week at Christ Church - part II

Written by Jemma Rook, posted on Wednesday, May 12, 2021

In the second of two College Life blogs inspired by Mental Health Awareness Week, Jemma Rook, one of the JCR Welfare Reps, talks about welfare support at Christ Church.   

Photo taken by the Christ Church Welfare reps on one of their walks around OxfordDuring Mental Health Awareness Week (May 10th-17th), I am sure many of us are reflecting on the challenges of the last year and the impact the pandemic has had on our well-being. It has certainly not been the year Riley Dougan and I had envisaged when we were elected as JCR Welfare Representatives last spring. Typically, the Welfare Reps would organise a range of events including tea breaks, movie screenings, pizza masterclasses, Zumba, and gingerbread decorating sessions. However, this year we have had to shift to more pandemic-friendly initiatives, such as socially distanced tea breaks, pumpkin-carving competitions in households, online self-care and wellbeing talks, Zoom coffee mornings and walks around the Meadow. Although obviously none of these events can solve mental health challenges, or replace professional mental health support, we hope that through each event we have at least made one person’s day just that tiny bit better. Riley and I have certainly enjoyed having the chance to meet many more Christ Church students in this role, and being able to pick some of our favourite snacks for the tea breaks!  

Photo taken by the Christ Church Welfare reps on one of their walks around OxfordOf course the most important part of being Welfare Reps, simply being a friendly face to students around college if they have any mental health concerns or just want a chat, has remained the same, albeit in more virtual or outside settings. Another key responsibility of the Welfare Reps is to publicise wider welfare resources in College. If you haven’t already, this week may be a perfect time to look through the comprehensive 64-page Welfare Handbook or the Mental Health Resources for Covid 19 document on the Christ Church website. It has been lovely for Riley and me to work alongside the wonderful staff network at Christ Church who oversee welfare within College, as well as collaborating with the GCR Reps to ensure that all students feel supported. Additionally, the Peer Supporters, who having completed 30 hours of training from the University Counselling Service, have been such an integral aspect of the welfare system this year. Whether that was speaking to every fresher before term started to answer any questions they may have or writing over 250 ‘welfairy’ notes to pidge to students in College. Welfairy is by far one of the most popular welfare activities, allowing each of us in college to show our appreciation for each other.  

Photo taken by the Christ Church Welfare reps on one of their walks around OxfordWe have been looking forward to Mental Health Awareness Week this week, and hopefully everyone will have the chance to get involved with the events being run and take time to think about how we can all look after our own mental wellbeing now and long into the future.

Click here for the programme of activities that will be taking place in Christ Church during Mental Health Awareness Week.