Coronavirus: Student wellbeing

An Oxford education is an amazing opportunity, but there can be challenges too. Your health and welfare during your course is our top priority, and while there may be a new normal in Somerville this year we will still make sure that you can get any support you need.

Welfare provision at Somerville is co-ordinated by Jo Ockwell, our Welfare Officer and Disability Co-Ordinator. Jo provides frontline support to individual students, helps students with disabilities to access support, and shapes college welfare policy. Jo will be mainly working from home this term, but you can still get in touch with her at and arrange to speak face-to-face on Teams if you wish.

Student peer support

Somerville is a close community where students support each other. The JCR Welfare Officers’ doors are always open to students with any sort of problem, as are those of the Peer Supporters (whose members are trained by the University Counselling Service). During the term, the JCR will arrange online events and other socials so that you will be able to spend time socialising and getting to know the college community while complying with the latest national and university health guidance.

Mental health

We all know that Oxford can be as demanding as it is exciting – and that would be in a typical year without the extra challenges of the new normal. There is no shame in feeling overwhelmed at times or like you need to talk. If you would like to speak to someone in confidence about any difficulties you are having, both our college counsellor and the University Counselling Service will be offering online appointments this term. You can find out more about the university’s service at, or email our college counsellor David on . We will not be informed that you have contacted them.

The University has also recently signed up to Togetherall (formerly Big White Wall), an online mental health resource which you can access by registering using your college email address at

College Nurse

Our college nurse, Glenys Knighton, will be available to discuss any general medical needs this term during her office hours of 10-4.30 Mon-Fri. Appointments with Glenys will be over the phone this term, but you will be able to have remote video consultations using the Nye Health app which can be downloaded to your smartphone. You can contact her on

Academic support

All students at Somerville have a Personal Tutor with whom they can discuss any problems, both academic and personal. While it will not be possible to see the Senior Tutor, Steve, on a drop-in basis or have face to face meetings with the Principal in her office, you can reach out to both of them to discuss academic and non-academic matters alike.

Financial Hardship

If, during your time at Somerville, you run into financial difficulties, contact who will be able to offer help and advice.

Out of Hours and Emergencies

Someone is available to help you 24/7, despite the pandemic. The Junior Deans provide out of hours welfare support to students, in addition their other role in making sure that the regulations of the college are adhered to and the needs and interests of all Somervillians respected. They live within College, and one of them is on call every evening, night and weekend during termtime so that they can provide support in a crisis. The Junior Deans this term are Sybilla Pereira, and Alex Sheader.

The Porters Lodge are also staffed at all times. The porters can provide first aid and arrange access to the site for an ambulance. If you need their help, call 01865 270600.

For all other medical emergencies, call 111 or 999.

Return to the Covid-19 Hub