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​​​​​​Mental Health Champion Network

Our Commitment to Staff Health & Wellbeing

At Edinburgh Napier we are committed to ensuring our workplace is an inclusive, safe and supportive environment where health and wellbeing is at the heart of our culture.  We have a commitment to creating a working environment where staff feel that they can openly discuss their health and wellbeing and can access the right support at the right time. ​

Mental Health Champion Network

In May 2020 we were pleased to launch the Mental Health Champions Network. Our trained Mental Health Champions are a point of contact for colleagues who are experiencing mental health issues or are in emotional distress, helping them get the appropriate support they need as quickly as possible. 

All of our Champions have undertaken the Scottish Mental Health First Aid (SMHFA) and/or the Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) Course and any colleague wishing to become a Champion must undertake one of these courses. 

*How to contact a Mental Health Champion*

Mental Health Champions are a point of contact for a colleaugue who is experiencing a mental health issue or emotional distress, helping the person get appropriate help, and provide early intervention for someone who may be developing a mental health issue. A Mental Health Champion is not expected to act as a counsellor or therapist but can provide a listening ear and signpost to appropriate help and support.

If a colleague wishes to speak to a Mental Health Champion, they can choose who they wish to speak to from the list below of colleagues who have undergone training to be a Champion and who are happy to help.

More information and contact details of the Champions are listed here: Mental Health Champion Information and Campus List

Colleagues can contact the Champion through the preferred method and the Champion may suggest they meet on campus in a comfortable environment or speak to them on the phone/over TEAMS.

Our Champions have guidelines to follow to ensure they know how to support the colleague in need of support.

Our Mental Health Champions have volunteered to be Champions as they wish to provide support and advice and are committed to breaking down the stigma around mental health.

Colleagues should be confident approaching the Champions if they are in emotional distress. 

Who can become a Mental Health Champion?

Colleagues who have completed the 12-hour Scotland’s Mental Health First Aid (SMHFA) course and/or the Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) course and received the completion certificate can volunteer to become a Champion. Those who have completed one or both courses are asked if they wish to become a volunteer and have their name and details added to the Campus Champion list.

What is a Mental Health Champion?


As well as providing a listening ear to colleagues in emotional distress or experiencing a mental health challenge, the Mental Health Champions also take action to raise awareness of mental health problems amongst colleagues, challenges mental health stigma, and provides peer support to colleagues.

Why do we need Champions?


We all have mental health just as we have physical health and some people may experience problems, some may be minor and temporary while some may be serious and all consuming. Mental health problems are very common with 1 in 4 people experiencing poor mental health in any year, meaning that most people are likely to know someone who has personal experience of mental health problems within their family, friendship or work circles.

We know that the vast majority of absences from work are related to mental health problems including those connected to workplace stress. The university is committed to reducing the number of mental health problems connected to workplace issues and while it cannot prevent mental ill-health caused by personal circumstances, the university is keen to support staff negatively affected.

Most people know very little about mental health and unfortunately, stigma is still an issue. Many people say they have not told colleagues about their mental health problems due to a fear they would be treated differently or thought less of and therefore do not seek the appropriate help.

What do Champions do?


A Mental Health Champion can be supportive in a number of ways;

  • Follow the SMHFA (ALGEE) or ASIST (PAL) steps if a person is in immediate crisis or life-threatening situation
  • Understand and recognise the signs of mental health problems
  • If you see a colleague in (non-life threatening) distress, provide comfort to understand the situation
  • Signpost the person to the university support resources such TogetherAll or guide them to support and counselling from our Employee Assistance Programme (EAP).
  • Provide a listening ear (sometimes that is all people want and need)
  • Raise awareness of mental health and make it part of normal conversation to help tackle stigma​ 

How to recognise a Mental Health Champion?

We have Mental Health Champions based at each campus and you can find names and contact details from this ​list​. The Champions have added to their signature line that they are a Mental Health Champion, and some have added the green ribbon mental health symbol as their email icon so they are easily identifiable. Many Champions will wear the green ribbon badge.

To meet a few of our Mental Health Champions please click on the link below, and you will hear why being a trained mental health first aider is important and why they decided to become a Champion.

Mental Health Champions​


You can also read the stories of colleagu​es who are Mental Health Champions by clicking on each link below

November 2022– Amber Issacs

November 2022 – Georgios Andronikos

December 2022– Becky Dytham

January 2023– Russell Wardale

February 2023 – Kim Edmonds

March 2023– Nicola Kennedy

April 2023 – Ailie McConnell

June 2023- Adam Watling 

September 2023 - Neil Guthrie

October 2023 - Lesley McRobb​

November 2023 - Sarah Malone​

February 2024 - John Simpson​

March 2024 - Amanda Pitkethly

Want to become a Mental Health Champion?

If you wish further information about the role of a Mental Health Champion or have comments and ideas, please contact the Wellbeing & Inclusion Team.


Our Champions agree to follow clear guidance within their remit when they become a Champion which helps them fulfill their responsibilities and recognise safe boundaries.