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Mental Health First Aiders

There are plenty of different types of support out there, and a Mental Health First Aider (MHFAider) can help you access the support you need to feel better. MHFAiders are a point of contact if you, or someone you are concerned about, are experiencing a mental health issue or emotional distress. They are not therapists or psychiatrists, but they can give you initial support and signpost you to appropriate help if required.

St Mary's currently has 10 trained MHFAiders across the University. You can find out more about them and their contact details below.

Your conversation with a St Mary's MHFAider is completely confidential. They will only ever disclose that you have spoken to them if they have concerns for your safety, or the safety of someone else. The MHFAider will tell you if they believe they need to do this to keep you or others safe.

For monitoring purposes, MHFAiders log basic information about contacts, limited to minimal information about the fact that a conversation took place, a department (provided this would not risk identifying you), and any referral actions they took.

Our MHFAs are in place for SMU staff. If any students require mental health support, please direct them to Student Services

If you have any questions about the programme please download the printatble contact details and FAQs document, or contact

Meet your Mental Health First Aiders poster

Ant OR

​I am truly honoured to have been accepted to become a Mental Health First Aider. I hope that I can offer colleagues support if they need to talk to someone about something that has been affecting them. Promoting the importance of good mental health is a passion of mine and I hope that the creation of these roles at the University can provide a platform to encourage our peers to talk about how they are feeling.

Claire HB

I have known people in both my personal and working life who have struggled with their mental health and recognise the impact this can have on their everyday life.  I have been fortunate enough to train as a Mental Health First Aider here are St Mary’s  and I’m committed to supporting and guiding others to find the help they might need.  I appreciate how difficult it can be to take that first step in seeking help, but I’m a good listener and encourage you to reach out and have a conversation.

Gemma C

Wellness and mental health have been areas of great importance to me when working in schools before joining St Mary's. I have worked with colleagues to research and implement initiatives that support and promote the wellbeing of children and adults in education. I have brought this passion and understanding with me to St Mary's and hope to support my colleagues using this and the knowledge I have gained from the Mental Health First Aider training. Sometimes reaching out for help can be a difficult step, but it will be received without judgement and from a place of care.

Holly C

Seeing beauty in vulnerability I strongly believe in using expertise through experience to inspire and empower others. I work in SAHPS, teaching on the BSc Psychology and MSc Psychology of Mental Health programmes. I am also a member of the Disability Staff Network.  Alongside this, I have 10 years clinical experience working with adults with mild to severe mental health conditions as well as lived experience of mental health.  I am overjoyed at becoming a Mental Health First Aider at St Mary’s University.  My eyes, ears and heart are open to anyone who needs someone to talk to, so please do get in touch if you need support.  

Josie B

I strongly believe that an individual’s mental health is just as important as their physical health, which is why I chose to train to become a Mental Health First Aider in order to be able to provide support, guidance and a listening ear to anyone at St Mary’s that is going through a difficult time. With my background in Psychology, I am truly passionate about taking steps to raise awareness of mental health issues and the stigma around it and I want to be there for people when things get too overwhelming. I am always happy to have a chat and welcome anyone to reach out.

Leanne G

My name is Leanne, and I have conducted the two day Mental Health First Aid training course. I work in SAHPS and very much enjoy drinking tea. Through dealing with my own and close family mental health issues, I want to be able to support others and guide people to receive the right help if needed. I am very open to having a chat with anybody, so please do contact me.

Mary M

I have been working at St Mary's for the last ten years having taught in secondary schools for a considerable time. Throughout my career I have been aware of colleagues, students and parents who experienced mental health issues but felt helpless and wanted to do more. I embarked on the MHFA training to become more informed and able to help people access support.

Matt J

​I have a long standing interest in promoting good mental health, having supported my wife for many years who has a long term mental health condition. Caring for a loved one going through mental health difficulties clearly presents its challenges and I’m keen to ensure colleagues who find themselves caring for others in this way, feel supported and are able to maintain their own mental health.

rebecca hughes

When I have gone through tough times having supportive colleagues around me and a safe space to talk has made all the difference to my mental health. I applied to be a Mental Health First Aider so that I can provide this support to other staff members throughout the university and will always make time in my diary to sit down for a tea and chat. Sometimes it is easier speaking to someone who you don’t directly work with or who knows you personally and I would welcome an email from anyone at St Mary’s if they feel I could be of some support to them.

Silvia R

Having accumulated research and clinical experiences as Chartered Psychologist (BPS member) and Cognitive-Behavioural Therapist (CBT), I have now obtained a new exciting role as Mental Health First Aider together with my academic role as Senior Lecturer in Psychology. Compassionately committed to supporting people suffering from a broad spectrum of different types of mental health issues. Dedicated to serving people in a meaningful way, listening to their concerns, and assist them to find help, contacts and information for their mental, emotional, and behavioural problems.