Many of us spend the largest proportion of our time in the workplace so creating a healthy, safe and supportive work environment is essential to help us feel comfortable, healthy and happy at work.
- Returning to work after ill mental health
1:4 people will experience a mental health problem each year and we want to ensure you can access support if you need it.
Your line manager should be in touch with you during your period of absence and will work with you to put in any adjustments you may need for your return. Discussions with you about adjustments are confidential and they are aimed at assisting you to effectively manage your time in work. Examples include increased flexibility, variable working hours, amendments to contracted hours (temporary, phased return), arriving at work later or leaving earlier to avoid very busy periods or slight alterations to roles and responsibilities. Reasonable adjustments are tailored to individual circumstances, and your line manager and/or HR Partner can help you to explore these further.
If you have a mental health condition that meets the definition of disability in the Equality Act 2010 you may also be able to access additional support at work through the Access to Work Mental Health Support Service. You can speak to your line manager or HR Partner confidentially about this further.
More information and advice about eligibility is available at: https://www.remploy.co.uk/employers/mental-health-and-wellbeing/workplace-mental-health-support-service-employers
- Occupational Health
The Occupational Health service for the University is provided by Iqarus Limited.
All staff are able to consult the service for advice on health matters. You are encouraged to discuss any health problems relating to your work in the first instance with your line manager however the occupational health service may be able to provide medical advice and assistance in situations where:
- You are concerned that some aspect of your job is making you ill
- You feel that you cannot perform at work to the best of your ability because of a health problem
The service is staffed by a broad range of occupational health professionals including physicians and advisers. All consultations are in strict medical confidence, details of discussions will not be supplied to the University or to any other person without your consent.
Iqarus is based at Forest Grove House on the Foresterhill site. Consultations are by appointment at Forest Grove House.
To arrange an appointment you can either ask your line manager to get Human Resources to refer you to the Occupational Health Service or contact your HR Adviser or Partner directly who can facilitate this.
- Employee Assistance Programme
which provides a free, confidential face to face and telephone counselling service as well as information services.
The EAP is provided by Care First and staff can contact them about work related or personal issues as well as information, such as legal or financial advice.
Care First is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They can be contacted on the freephone number 0808 168 2143.
Online information and counselling are available on the Lifestyle website:
Additionally, Care First provide a health and wellbeing app which offers a combination of tailored programmes and health information and support.
The app, called Care First Zest, can be accessed at the URL below, the App Store or Google Play: http://www.sodexo.carefirstzest.co.uk
Use Organisation code PMM1
- Mental Health First Aid
Scotland's Mental Health First Aid
What is MHFA?
Mental Health First Aid is a national training programme and prepares people to be Mental Health First Aiders (MHFAs). It is a voluntary role, MHFAs listen, can have a confidential conversation about your mental health and, if needed, assist you in getting appropriate support.
MHFAs are not therapists and don’t diagnose people. MHFAs are trained to listen, reassure and respond, even in a crisis. MHFAs will raise awareness about mental health and challenge any stigma in the workplace.
Where are MHFAs?
We have MHFAs across University of Aberdeen campuses you can find the MHFA contact list here.
MHFA training is currently paused if you would like to apply for training when it restarts contact: Wendy Booth.
If you need out of office hours support or need immediate assistance these mental health helplines have specially trained volunteers to help you through your immediate crisis.
- Disabled Staff Support
The links below provide information of relevance to disabled staff. For more specific guidance, please contact your Human Resources Officer.
- There are a number of opportunities for involvement, if you have an interest in disability matters at the University of Aberdeen.
- Fitness and exercise opportunities for disabled users
- Library services for disabled users
- Workplace Dignity Network
The Workplace Dignity Network aims to provide support to staff who would like to chat through wellbeing concerns. This could be in relation to bullying/harassment, stress, work relationships, work/life balance or mental health issues. The Network members are a listening ear. Sometimes it just helps to share an issue and discuss it. The Network can also signpost you to other sources of support which you may not have considered previously.
If you would like to contact a member of the Network, you can find their contact details below. You may wish to meet with someone who works outwith your area of work. You can contact any of the Network members and request to meet with them. The discussion will take place in a location that you are fully comfortable with.
Your Network contact will listen to your concerns and will be guided by your preferences regarding how you wish to proceed. They may provide you with alternative sources of support. Together you will decide what your next steps could be and your contact will provide information on the routes open to you.
The Workplace Dignity Network has received training, but they are not counsellors, mediators or mental health experts. They will, however, be able to provide advice on the University providers of these services.
The conversations will, unless there are very exceptional circumstances, be kept in the strictest confidence.
Your contact will, at the start of the meeting, ask you to agree to the code of conduct for the Service. This ensures that both the staff member and the Network member are treated with respect throughout the discussions.
For further information about the Workplace Dignity Network, contact Janine Chalmers, Equality and Diversity Adviser on firstname.lastname@example.org or 01224 273883.
Carol Baverstock, Student Recruitment and Admissions Service
Hello, my name is Carol and I joined the University in December 1999. I worked initially as an Assistant Faculty Officer and moved to Student Recruitment and Admissions in 2002 as Head of Admissions.
I became a Harassment Advisor when the roles where first created and pleased to now be a Staff Wellbeing Co-ordinator. I work full time and have a young family. During my time with the University, I have gained a lot of experience managing difficult situations and dealing with sensitive and confidential matters.
I have supported both applicants to the University and students with regard to sensitive and personal issues and in managing the Admissions team I have worked through a range of challenges as circumstances in the workplace unfold.
Tel: +44 (0) 1224 273504
Jackie Ewen, Administrator, School of Law
Hello, my name is Jackie, I have worked at the School of Law for several years, as Administrator for the DPLP and over the last few years, as PA to Head of School.
We all spend a large amount of our time at work, and I am passionate that all of us should feel that we are working in an environment that is as supportive and stress-free as possible. I believe that in this role I will be able to help make this a reality here at the UoA.
I take a holistic approach to well-being, and have personally benefitted from the Mindfulness Based Living courses run here at the University of Aberdeen, and I am an active member of Aberdeen Sports Village, where I enjoy a variety of exercise classes. I am also a qualified Mental Health First Aider having recently completed the Scottish Mental Health First Aid Course.
Tel: +44 (0) 1224 272865
Heather Crabb, Executive Assistant and Project Officer, University Secretary's Office
Heather joined the University in 1999 and has supported members of staff and managers in all three Colleges and the Professional Services Directorates as a member of the Human Resources team. Latterly, she was responsible for developing a number of staffing policies and procedures as HR Adviser (Policy and Projects).
In July 2014, Heather took up the post of Executive Assistant & Project Officer in the University Secretary’s Office. Heather was a founder member of the Harassment Advisers network and so has experience of dealing with a wide range of sensitive and confidential matters.
Lisa Clydesdale, Postgraduate Admissions Officer, Student Recruitment and Admissions
I have been working at the University for over 20 years in administrative and student facing roles. My current role is in Postgraduate Admissions within the Student Recruitment and Admissions Team.
I have some previous nursing experience and I have completed a BScHons in Health Sciences (Health Promotion) at the University. During my degree studies I spent time on placement with ChildLine and I am currently undertaking a Counselling Skills course.
Moira Cruickshank, Research Fellow, Health Service Research Unit
I have been at the University since 2002, when I returned to full-time education as a mature student. I completed my BSc, MRes and PhD in psychology, before becoming a Research Fellow in the Health Services Research Unit in 2011.
I have undertaken courses in counselling skills, workplace coaching and mental health first aid. I firmly believe in the power of listening as a way of helping and supporting people to find a way through problems that is best for them. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if I can help in any way.
Tel: +44 (0) 1224 438412
Christina Cameron, Project and Strategy Officer, Estates and Facilities Management
I have worked at the University since 2008 in a variety of roles in Estates, Registry, Planning, and Student Life. In my current role, I’m a Project and Strategy Officer in Estates and Facilities Management. I have a small child, and work four days a week. As well as completing the Mental Health First Aid training, I worked for 18 months as part of the Equality and Diversity team helping with University initiatives including Athena SWAN and our staff network groups.
Tel: +44 (0) 1224 274189
Brian Paterson, Technician, School of Natural and Computing Science
Brian has been a member of technical staff in the university since 1992, getting involved in the wellbeing of support staff initially, by becoming a union representative in 2000.
He became a Harassment Advisor from the inception of the role and been involved in the discussion and creation of the expanded role of Wellbeing Coordinator.
He is a trained first-aider and has recently undertaken Mental Health First Aid training as well as being an active member of the university’s Employee Engagement Group and Mental Health Working Group.
He has extensive experience of working with colleagues to address individual and collective issues both informally and formally and is always able to have a quiet chat with anybody in the community who feels they need some advice or assistance.
Tel: +44 (0) 1224 273804
Patricia Spence, Centre Manager, Centre for Academic Development
I have worked at the University in various roles for nearly 20 years and am now the Manager of the Centre for Academic Development which is part of the Directorate of Academic Affairs.
I have held line management positions in Professional Services areas for most of the time I have worked here and currently manage a team of around thirty staff including full-time, part-time and temporary roles.
Having been a line manager for most of my working life, and a Harassment Adviser for several years, I’m pleased to now be a Staff Wellbeing Coordinator. My line management and life experience has given me a particular interest in mental ill health and I have recently completed the Mental Health First Aid Training Course. I have also had training in work-based coaching, something which can support a positive approach to tackling difficult circumstances in the work environment.
Tel: +44 (0) 1224 27 3924
Linda Stephen, ICT Learning Support Assistant, IT Services
I have been working for the University for a number of years and am interested in the wellbeing of colleagues and the staff community as a whole. I have a background in teaching, have worked in IT support for some time and am now part of the Training and Documentation Team.
I have attended trainings in Stress, Resilience, Mentoring and Mental Health First Aid. Outwith work, I volunteer regularly as a counsellor to young people and have been involved in the training and mentoring of new volunteers. I have developed skills in active listening which have been useful at work, in volunteering and in my family life with my two grown up children.
I am open to meeting with any colleagues who want to talk about issues they are having with wellbeing at work and supporting them to explore options and find their own ways to move forward.
Tel: +44 (0) 1224 273150
Nicola Stokes, Administrative Coordinator, Postgraduate Research School
My name is Nic and I am a part-time secretary within Registry. Prior to joining the University, I worked for many years within the Social Care Sector in several areas including Mental Health, Substance Misuse, Children and Families (particularly with families affected by Postnatal Depression) and Learning Difficulties/Disabilities.
I became involved with the Wellbeing Co-ordinator programme as I wanted to be a ‘listening ear’ to colleagues finding their work and/or personal life difficult at present. For many, simply talking about a ‘problem’ will often be the first step to dealing with the situation in a positive and pro-active way.
I have both personal and professional experience within Mental Health services and hope to contribute to reducing any stigma felt by colleagues and making the University a truly supportive environment for both staff and students.
Tel: +44 (0) 1224 273625
Carol Lawie, Executive Assistant, School of Law
I’m Carol Lawie, an Executive Assistant in the School of Law. I have been working in the School of Law since 2004, and have recently been appointed as a Staff Well-being Co-ordinator. A proportion of my day-to-day role involves helping UG students with any personal issues they may face while studying here. This experience means that I am a good listener, well -versed in pointing people in the right direction to seek help to solve their issues and concerns.
I feel very strongly that it’s important for people to have the opportunity to discuss any issues they have impartially and seek support when they need it. Last year I undertook the Scottish Mental Health First Aid Course, which I found extremely useful and insightful, having deployed some of the recommended strategies with recent student queries.
Tel: +44 (0) 1224 272441
- Covid-19 Staff Survey