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On Tuesday 14 May 2019, the Department marked Mental Health Awareness Week by pulling together to organise a day of wellbeing events to help foster a sense of community and raise awareness of the support services on offer for staff and students.

The day kicked off with a lunchtime yoga class organised by the Riley Group’s Katie McNeil. The session was very well received with plenty of positive feedback on how relaxing it was for many, with one DPAG member commenting: “This was brilliant, just what I needed. I struggle to do exercise outside of work due to having a small child so can we have this every week please? Perfect to do it at lunchtime.” Another member echoed the sentiment, commenting: “It would be amazing to have regular yoga sessions, so many benefits to mental health and physical health and will help productivity in work place!”

The second event of the day was led by Head of Administration and Finance Tania Boytwho gave a presentation on the relationship between work and mental health and wellbeing, and discussed some of the support materials available to departmental members. She also introduced the Department’s newly appointed Mental Health First Aiders, who are trained to offer a confidential, supportive and non-judgemental space to talk for those in need within the Department. The talk was followed by some well-earned time for tea and a chat with colleagues across the department.

This event is part of a series of termly wellbeing events for all members of the Department based around three national campaigns: Mental Health Awareness Week, World Mental Health Day and Time to talk Day.

Last year, for World Mental Health Day, Professor Vladyslav Vyazovskiy gave a talk to the Department entitled "Sleep Matters: the impact of sleep on mental health". A month later, the Department hosted “Looking behind the label: Mental Ill-Health in the Workplace,” a workshop delivered by Oxford University members, Verity Westgate and Dan Holloway. In February this year, the Athena Swan team hosted Time to Talk Day 2019, where refreshments and a bake sale were offered in aid of Oxfordshire Mind.

The next event will take place in October 2019 to mark World Mental Health Day.

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