50th Anniversary

As part of our celebrations for the 50th Anniversary, we are hosting a series of workshops with speakers from a range of organisations relating to mental health. These sessions will be running throughout this term (over the next 2 months), will be accessible to the public and will be online, so everyone is welcome to attend.

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Our talks

Speaker/Organisation Date Week Place
MIX Feb 3 - 3pm Week 3 Online
Mental Health Foundation  Feb 10 - 3pm  Week 4  Online
Samaritans Feb 18 - 3pm Week 5 Online
David Clark Feb 28 - 3pm Week 7 Online


Title: The impact of the pandemic on young people

Speaker: Michaela Brooks – Acting Helpline Team Leader and Bohdana Dock – Head of Data, Research and Evaluation

The talk will discuss the impact of the pandemic on the mental health of young people based on The Mix’s helpline data and research. It will also demonstrate how The Mix has utilised this data to respond to the pandemic and the needs of service users so far.

Speaker 1: Bohdana Dock; Head of Data, Research and Evaluation at The Mix. Bohdana has been working in research roles and evaluation in the charity sector since 2011 in charities such as Charities Aid Foundation, Rethink Mental Illness or British Heart Foundation. Since 2018, she has been working at The Mix, the UK’s leading digital support service for young people providing services such as helpline, counselling or website that help young people to take on any challenges they face.

She is currently focusing on maximising the value of the Mix’s internal data set through its analysis and on partnering with academic organisations around data and research to gain better understanding of young people’s mental health and how to improve digital services for them. She has a strong interest in utilising data in development of innovative digital mental health services. She also leads on The Mix research and evaluation activities to better understand the challenges young people are facing, their experiences and priorities to inform The Mix strategy and improve services

Speaker 2: Michaela Brooks; Acting Helpline Team Leader at the Mix Michaela is the Acting Helpline Team Leader at the Mix, having been a part of the team since 2019. She is also in the 2nd Year of the Psychotherapy Programme at the Gestalt Centre. Having moved through Drama School and various other roles in the arts sector, Michaela turned to the mental health sector, following her love of spaces which allow for emotional expression and human connection.

As Acting Helpline Team Leader, Michaela provides leadership for a team of 10 Helpline staff members and cohort of 100+ volunteers. Overseeing the 1-1 support services provided by volunteers via the phoneline, webchat and email. She is also part of the Safeguarding Team for the Mix, responsible for handling complex cases and reviewing our organisational policies. Michaela has a strong interest in how data can reflect the common themes emerging for young people societally and how this can inform service developments and practices for our front line support.

Mental Health Foundation

Title: Public mental health in the pandemic and beyond

Speaker: Dr Antonis Kousoulis, Director of England & Wales, Mental Health Foundation

Talk Description: The pandemic has generated unique mental health challenges and exacerbated existing health inequalities. To ensure better mental health for all post-COVID, we'll need to fundamentally reconsider our approach on all levels and apply a public health lens.

Bio: Dr Kousoulis is leading the research, policy and programmes functions of the Mental Health Foundation, a UK-wide public mental health charity of over 70 years. He is doctor with an academic background in public health and executive experience in academia, third sector and the government. He is a leading thinker in public mental health and has been made Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts for his commitment to improving mental health & fostering a new generation of public health leaders, in UK & internationally.


Title: Samaritans: Bringing our listening service to the community

Speaker: Matt Williams, Director of Oxford Samaritans

Talk Description: Since 2009, Oxford Samaritans have been offering a listening service on Cornmarket Street for anyone who may need to talk on a Friday evening. Based on outreach events and approaches established by Samaritans Branches in South Wales, following the widespread media reports of suicides of young people in Bridgend in 2007, the service remains active in Oxford. Matt will share the history and evolution of this approach; why it works, and why it matters.

Bio: During the day, Matt works as a Senior Project Manager with the Oxford Academic Health Science Network working on innovative projects in the field of mental health. He was, until recently, involved in the Early Intervention in Psychosis Network and was also the Suicide Prevention Project Facilitator at Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust. Matt continues to work through the Suicide Prevention and Intervention Network (SPIN), a multi-agency network operating across the Thames Valley, which promotes the message that suicide prevention is everybody’s business.

He is also engaged with the dedicated male suicide prevention charity the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) and, with colleagues, established the Thames Valley ‘CALMzone’ across Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes; the third such CALMzone in the UK (after those in Merseyside and London).

David Clark

Title: Developing & increasing the public availability of effective psychological therapies for anxiety problems: Science, politics, & economics

Speaker: Prof. David Clark

Description: The talk describes an effective model for developing new treatments and shows how science, politics and economics can be combined to expand mental health care in a way that starts to reduce the massive gap between need and the provision of mental health support.

Bio:David M Clark studied Experimental Psychology at Oxford and subsequently qualified as a clinical psychologist. He was a Nightline volunteer. He currently holds the chair in Experimental Psychology. He is well-known for his pioneering work on the understanding and psychological treatment of anxiety disorders: especially panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, health anxiety and PTSD. Each of the psychological treatments that he has developed figure prominently in clinical guidelines. He has also focused on how to make effective psychological treatments much more widely available through internet delivery and through major changes in healthcare systems. He was a leading architect of the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme and is NHS England’s National Clinical & Informatics Advisor for IAPT. He is also a Fellow of the British Academy, UK Academies of Medical Sciences and Social Sciences, British Association of Behavioural Psychotherapies, Association for Behavioral & Cognitive Therapies (USA) and Association for Psychological Science (USA).