Student health and welfare is a top priority at Somerville. On this page, you can meet our welfare team and find out about the different resources we have to make sure you are supported at every stage of your time here.
Browse through the links below to find out more about the different kinds of support you can access at Somerville. You can also find out how to contact various key services such as out-of-hours doctors, counsellors and whom you should contact in an emergency.
Student Welfare Lead
The college is fortunate to have its own Student Welfare Lead in the person of Jo Ockwell. Jo takes the lead on all student welfare matters – both in providing frontline support to individual students and helping shape the college’s welfare policy. She is also the college’s Disability Co-ordinator and, as such, the first point of contact for students with disabilities, and a College Harassment Advisor. Meet Jo and find out more about how she helps you to access support at Somerville here.
Call emergency services on 999 or, the Porters’ Lodge can be contacted, either by telephone on 01865 (2)70600 or in person if first aid is required.
If you suspect the presence of intruders, you should immediately report this to the Lodge, who will contact the police. Other matters that you need to report to the police should also be reported to the Dean (e.g. assault, theft).
You should make yourself familiar with the fire regulations posted on your staircase and in your room. You will be required to attend a fire safety briefing in College at the beginning of your first year. You must vacate your room when the fire alarm sounds, including for fire drills which are held at least twice a year, unless you have been notified in advance that you do not need to evacuate. You must not re-enter the building until told to do so.
The NPCC’s Stay Safe campaign provides useful information on staying safe in the event of an armed attack within College. Somerville, in conjunction with the University and authorities, is doing everything it can to prevent such an eventuality, but the following video nonetheless provides a useful reference.
Mental Health Emergencies and Support
Call the 24/7 Oxfordshire NHS Mental Health Helpline: 01865 904997
Nightline (01865 270270)
Samaritans (tel. 116 123 or email email@example.com)
Oxford Safe Haven is a local support for people experiencing a mental health crisis open 365 days per year. It is not a clinical service, but offers listening and advice.
Other Mental Health Support
Togetherall Managing Stress and Worry course (register with your Oxford email address)
SHOUT text support service
LGBT+ Helpline https://switchboard.lgbt/
Mental Health UK BAME mental health services
Sexual Assault Support
Oxfordshire Solace Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) provides confidential specialist support for anyone who has been raped or sexually assaulted, including advice on the choices available, forensic services and medical treatment.
The College Nurse, Jenny Fitzgerald, is available in college every day during term time for general medical advice. Please refer to her office, Darbishire 16, for her consulting hours. You can email Jenny at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For advice about urgent, non-emergency healthcare issues contact the NHS 111 service.
Please note, if you are a UK national, you will be eligible automatically for NHS healthcare. If you classify as an overseas student, you may or may not be eligible to access all services provided by the NHS depending on your residency status. Information on the NHS is available at http://www.nhs.uk/aboutnhs.
Personal Security and Safety
Safety and well-being are taken very seriously at Oxford. Advice on personal and property crime prevention, staying safe on nights out and who to contact in an emergency is available on the Oxford Students website. In particular, you are reminded to:
- Register personal possessions that have serial numbers such as laptops, mobile phone and cameras on Immobilise, the National Property Register.
- Put laptops in a locked drawer when they are not being used, even if you just leave the room briefly, particularly if your room is on the ground floor and your desk is near an open window.
- Back up work on a USB stick which is kept in a separate location, or use a cloud-based storage facility such as DropBox, Microsoft Cloud or iCloud.
- Consider using a tracking service in case any of your devices are stolen, such as Prey Project.
Safe Lodge Scheme – Any Oxford University student can ask for help from any participating college lodge, under the Safe Lodge scheme. Look out for the green circle by the lodge entrance where you can go in and ask for a phone call back to your own college welfare team and a taxi home.
Security Services can be reached 24 hours a day at 01865 (2)72944 or (2)89999 in an emergency. Incidents can also be reported online on the Security Services website (https://www.admin.ox.ac.uk/ouss).
Take 5 Exam Panic for mental health
Equality & Diversity unit: mental health self-help resources
University Sexual Harassment and Violence Support Service (SHVSS) provides a safe space in which to be heard, with advisors offering free support and advice to any current student regardless of age or gender who has been impacted by sexual harassment or violence.
Harassment Advisor Network or contact the Harassment Advisory Service at email@example.com.
Alcohol and substance misuse
Personal Tutors and College Advisors
All students have a Personal Tutor (Undergrads) or a College Advisor (Grads) with whom they can discuss any problems, both academic and personal. The Student Welfare Lead and Senior Tutor can offer advice and practical support. In addition, each student has an annual meeting with the Principal, which is an opportunity to discuss academic and non-academic matters alike. You will be told who your Personal Tutor or College Advisor is in an email in 0th week of Michaelmas term each year. If you’re not sure, or you miss that email, please ask the Academic Office (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Student Welfare Advisors
The Student Welfare Advisors; Shamsideen Yusuf, Tamsin Greene-Barker and Jisoo Seo, provide welfare support to students outside of office hours. They live in College, and one of them is on call every evening, night and weekend during full term. They provide a listening, support and signposting service to students, including those in crisis. They can listen, provide guidance and support if you’re experiencing difficulties such as personal problems, poor mental health, or other welfare/wellbeing matters. Their role also includes ensuring that the needs and interests of the College, and of all our members, are respected.
Please contact them on 07805 784964, between 7pm and 7am Monday to Thursday, and from 7pm Friday to 7am Monday, during term time. For non-urgent matters they can be contacted at email@example.com and one of them will get back to you as soon as they can.
Junior Common Room Support
Every new student arriving at Somerville gets their own College ‘mother’ and ‘father’ – older students who act as mentors when you first arrive. And that’s just the start of the JCR’s welfare work. Our students are a supportive bunch. The JCR Welfare Officers’ doors are always open to students with any sort of problem, while our Peer Supporters (whose members are trained by the University Counselling Service) are available to help you with advice and support from someone who’s been there. The JCR also elects a Disability Officer, an Ethnic Minorities Officer, an LGBTQ+ Officer, and a Women’s officer to represent these groups in the college and advise students on any concerns.
Counselling at Oxford is offered to all students free of charge by the Oxford University Counselling Service. They offer individual and group sessions to help you overcome any difficulties you are going through. Oxford is also one of the few UK University counselling services which can refer you to a psychiatrist if you require this extra support. For an appointment, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org, 01865 270300 or visit the 3 Worcester Street Office. The Counselling Service also has plenty of Self-Help Resources.
Whichever route you opt for, your attendance will be treated in confidence.
Somerville is keen to support students who are young carers. We understand that the transition to University life can be particularly difficult if you usually have caring responsibilities at home and are worried about those whom you care for. Please speak to Jo Ockwell, the Student Welfare Lead, about support that the college may be able to provide.
Cycling in Oxford is a very good idea as it often trumps cars and buses as the fastest way of getting round the city. Research has also shown that the more people cycle, the safer it becomes. Please visit http://think.direct.gov.uk/cycling.html and www.bikeregister.com for more information about how to keep yourself and your bike safe.