Mental Health and Wellbeing at UCD

UCD is committed to the creation of a work environment whereby every employee can feel supported no matter what issues they may be facing in life and where mental health and wellbeing is promoted. UCD recognises that life can be demanding and we always strive to support employees’ wellbeing. This is particularly true for the situation that employees now find themselves in as a result of Covid-19.  We may be facing some challenges associated with caring responsibilities, working remotely and being unable to socialise and interact in person with colleagues, friends and family. It is important to remember to take care of your mental health and wellbeing, particularly in a time of uncertainty, stress and isolation.

We are therefore delighted to be in a position to launch a new support in UCD, a Mental Health First Aid Peer Support Group. This Peer Support group was established earlier this year to support employees who may be feeling overwhelmed at any stage of their lives or are concerned about their mental health and wellbeing. They provide non-judgemental, confidential support and information to employees on a strictly confidential basis and are available should you wish to make contact with them to have a chat and find out more about supports that are available if needed. All members of this Peer Support Group have been trained in Mental Health First Aid with Mental Health First Aid Ireland. Please see below for more information on Mental Health First Aid Ireland.

What is the role of a Mental Health First Aid Peer Support?

This role:

  • Promotes positive mental health and wellbeing at work
  • Acts as a confidential listening ear and source of information and support. No information will be passed to any third party without the permission of the employee*
  • Assists colleagues who may be feeling overwhelmed at any stage of their lives or may be concerned about their mental health and wellbeing
  • Assists colleagues who may be concerned about a colleague or friend
  • Assists colleagues who may be developing a mental health problem or crisis following a difficult time in their lives
  • Signposts to the relevant supports and professional services if required

*Where there is a risk of suicide, threat to life or potential harm to another party, confidentiality can be broken. In these instances, the Mental Health First Aid Peer Support group members will seek advice from relevant professional parties.

The Mental Health First Aid Peer Support does not:

How does this Peer Support work during Remote Working as a result of Covid-19?

The support provided by Mental Health First Aid Peer Support is appointment-based, within working hours and will operate through Zoom. You can contact any member of the Peer Support Group that you wish. Please e-mail the person you wish to make contact with in the first instance to agree a time that is suitable for both of you to have a Zoom call. Information on how to use Zoom is available here.

All Zoom functionality, apart from sound and video, will be switched off by the Peer Support Group member. If you do not wish to use the video option during a Zoom call, you can switch this off on your device.

Please note that members of the Mental Health Peer Support Group cannot give out personal contact details such as their mobile numbers.

More Information

The Mental Health First Aid Code of Practice can be downloaded here: MHFA Panel Code of Practice. You may also wish to consult our page on Mental Health and Wellbeing during Covid19: https://www.ucd.ie/equality/support/mentalhealth/

Please contact us at edi@ucd.ie for any questions.

Mental Health First Aid Ireland 

MHFA Ireland 

The Mental Health First Aid Programme was created in Australia in 2000 by an educator and mental health consumer (Betty Kitchener) in partnership with a mental health researcher (Anthony Jorm). The MHFA programme has spread to 24 countries and has been incorporated into national mental health policy.

Saint John of God Hospital is a not-for profit, independent provider of mental health services. In May 2014 the Hospital signed a Memorandum of Understanding with MHFA Australia to adapt the course for Ireland and in October 2014 Betty Kitchener came to Saint John of God Hospital to advise on the roll out of the MHFA Ireland Programme.

 

Meet the Mental Health First Aid Peer Support Group below: 

Elke Eichelmann 

Elke Eichelmann: I joined UCD in 2018 as an Assistant Professor/Lecturer in the School of Biology and Environmental Science. I am currently the Programme Director of the online programme in Environmental Sustainability. My research interests are in the area of biosphere-atmosphere exchange of greenhouse gases and other trace gases. Outside of academic work I have been involved with campus groups that promote mental health and emotional support for students in the past, as well as with groups that support diversity and equity in science. I am an outdoorsy person and enjoy exploring Ireland on foot as much as I can. I can be contacted at: elke.eichelmann@ucd.ie

Graeme Warren 

Graeme Warren: I have worked in the UCD School of Archaeology since 2002, including being Head of School 2016-2020. My research focuses on prehistoric hunter-gatherers and long-term histories of landscapes. Originally from England, I now live in Wicklow Town with my wife, two teenage daughters and an excessive number of cats. I am a mountain runner, enjoy cooking and sharing a range of nerdy interests with my family. I can be contacted at: graeme.warren@ucd.ie

Nadia Clarkin

Nadia Clarkin: I have worked in UCD since 2008 and am currently a Student Adviser to the Sutherland School of Law and the Michael Smurfit Graduate School of Business. Prior to this I worked as a researcher in an independent research consultancy exploring the areas of stress at work, health promotion at work and technological solutions for people with disabilities and other marginalised groups. My professional interests include the personal and professional development of others through mentoring and coaching. Outside of work, I love travelling, cooking, reading and broadening my knowledge on a wide variety of topics through podcasts and other media. I can be contacted at: nadia.clarkin@ucd.ie

Susi Geiger 

Susi Geiger: I am a Full Professor in the College of Business, where I have worked since 2001, and the PI of a research team of 7 researchers in an ERC project called MISFIRES. My research interest revolves around addressing issues of fairness and justice in  markets, especially healthcare. I am particularly concerned with access to medicines and healthcare services, including mental health services. I have previously acted as an AURORA mentor and run a module on service learning. Outside academia, I am a member of Access to Medicines Ireland, where I campaign for accessible healthcare for all. I do Yoga, tango occasionally with UCD Staff Tango, run and read – if I'm not backpacking somewhere in the world with my family. I can be contacted at: susi.geiger@ucd.ie

Ronan ORourke 

Ronan O'Rourke: I have been at UCD since June 2019 working in the Student Recruitment Unit. I completed an M. Ed. in Counselling Psychology and a C.A.G.S in Athletic Counselling during my time at Springfield College in Massachusetts where I also worked for five years with the Men's Soccer Program. I have a great love for sports of all kinds in particular Liverpool FC, the Irish National teams, and Leinster Rugby. I also possess a passion for music, films and general wellbeing. A fun fact about me is that I grew up in Brussels, Belgium. I can be contacted at: ronan.orourke@ucd.ie

Deirdre OConnor 

Deirdre O'Connor: I am currently a Lecturer in Resource Economics in the Faculty of Agriculture and Food Science at UCD, teaching across a range of undergraduate and postgraduate programmes.  My main research interests are in the area of Rural Development and Food Policy. I very much enjoy the international dimension of my work and have held visiting academic positions in universities in Italy, Japan and Australia. I’m interested in issues of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion and am involved in a number of related committees/initiatives within UCD. My main hobbies are ceramics, cookery, reading and travel. I can be contacted at: deirdre.oconnor@ucd.ie 

Michelle Coen 

Michelle Coen: I currently work as a Career & Skills Consultant at the UCD Careers Network. I teach Career Readiness modules, facilitate workshops & events and meet students on a 1:1 basis in relation to career related topics. I completed my Bachelor of Social Science (Hons) Degree at UCD and have also completed a Postgraduate Higher Diploma in Human Resource Management. I am a qualified Life Coach and am currently completing a Postgraduate Higher Diploma in Career Education, Information and Guidance at the University of Warwick. I am keen to promote positive mental health at UCD and to support my UCD colleagues in any way I can. I can be contacted at: michelle.coen@ucd.ie 

Peadar OGaora 

Peadar O'Gaora: I was born into the 1960’s diaspora, grew up in Dublin and rejoined the diaspora in the 1980’s. During my time away from Ireland I worked in the USA and UK. I am a Microbiologist by training but took a year out to study for an MSc in Computer Science when genome sequencing became feasible. I returned to Dublin to an academic position in UCD in 2004 and I am currently a staff member in the School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Sciences. I enjoy most sports as a spectator, but my physical exertions are mostly confined to cycling and occasionally playing golf poorly but enthusiastically. Other than that, for the past 20 years my wife and I have run an unpaid taxi service for 2 exclusive clients. I can be contacted at: peadar.ogaora@ucd.ie

Silvia Panizza 

Silvia Panizza: I am Teaching Fellow in Ethics in the School of Philosophy. Previously, I was Lecturer in Ethics at the Medical School, University of East Anglia. I joined UCD in 2019. I have worked and lived in several countries so I enjoy experiencing different landscapes, cultures, and food. I love travelling, poetry, and am interested in Eastern spiritual practices like Buddhism and Yoga, as well as Western mystical traditions. I care about animal protection and I coordinate a network of research, teaching, and public engagement exploring how to change the way we think of, and live with, other animals. I can be reached at silvia.panizza@ucd.ie.

Delia Pearlman

Delia Pearlman: I am currently PA to the Vice President of Research, Innovation, and Impact. I also provide secretariat support for UCD Research committees including the University Management Team subgroup, the Research and Innovation Impact Group (RIIG). Amongst my interests are cooking, gardening, health, wellbeing, and nutrition. If you wish to talk with me confidentially you can contact me at: delia.pearlman@ucd.ie 

Barbara Cantwell

Barbara Cantwell: I joined UCD School of Medicine in 1996 and am the Administration Manager of the Merrion Campus Team,  which incorporates St. Vincent’s University Hospital, St. Colmcille’s Hospital, Loughlinstown and St. Michael’s Hospital, Dun Laoghaire. Our medical students rotate through all the clinical sites until they graduate as NCHD’s. I am involved in all aspects of their wellbeing whilst in the hospitals right up to their graduation. My main interests are golf, travel and reading.  If you wish to contact me in confidence my email address is: barbara.cantwell@ucd.ie 

Neil Clancy

Neil Clancy: I have been working in UCD since March 2016 within the Human Resources Department, I graduated with a BBS from University of Limerick in 2003 and I have been working in the area of Human Resources since then. Originally from Limerick I now call Dublin home, my hobbies include running, rugby hurling and dogs, I can be contacted at: neil.clancy@ucd.ie 

Anne Hallinan

Anne Hallinan: I have been working in UCD for over 10 years in various professional roles. Currently I am the School Manager in UCD School of Music. My educational background is in psychotherapy and dramatherapy. I like to avail of volunteering opportunities in UCD and my neighbourhood to give back to the community and to further develop my skills. I continue to challenge my own thinking and attitude around mental health, and I have a keen interest in raising awareness on mental health issues in the workplace. My interests are: member of a gospel choir, amateur dramatics, and baking. I can be contacted at: anne.hallinan@ucd.ie 

Mary Bushe MHFA 

Mary Bushe: I began working in UCD in 1998, as a Post Doc in Medicine & Therapeutics. I joined the Examinations Office in 2000 and have been there ever since. I have 3 sons and 7 grandchildren (5 in Oz and 2 in Ireland). I have a dog and 2 cats.  My hobbies include dancing – UCD Staff Tango. I am also a member of the UCD Community Choir. I am a Buddy for the Buddy System in Registry (providing support to new members of staff). I am described as easy going and positive. I enjoy talking with people and have a genuine interest in providing support. If you want to chat with me, in confidence, I can be contacted at: mary.bushe@ucd.ie