CANCELLED : Pioneering workshop: Developing a university module on wellbeing and mental health support in emergency settings

This event has now finished. Please see our events website for details of upcoming events at Brookes.

Pioneering Workshop

Who this event is for

  • Everyone


Garden Room, Buckley, Headington Campus


Pioneering workshop: Developing a university module on wellbeing and mental health support in emergency settings

The nature of humanitarian work is physically, mentally and emotionally demanding.

Humanitarian workers are often required to work in challenging conditions with no privacy, personal space or psychosocial support. Recent research has revealed that aid workers often suffer from stress, anxiety and depression, and are fearful of talking about their mental health issues. It is believed that there is a mental health crisis amongst aid workers but no clear system has been set up to provide mental health and wellbeing support.

This workshop provides an opportunity for students to work directly with University staff and leading mental health experts to develop a university course on mental health support and wellbeing for those seeking a career in emergency settings.

The workshop will engage participants in a brainstorming process on innovative and practical approaches that could be introduced to enhance wellbeing and build resilience of humanitarian workers.


  • Hitendra Solanki (Mindfulness & Wellbeing Adviser). Hitendra is currently the Mindfulness & Wellbeing Adviser for Action Against Hunger UK. In addition, he has also been teaching at London South Bank University since 2003, and is currently the Senior Lecturer on the MSc Development Studies course. Hitendra has been active in the development and humanitarian sector for over 16 years, and in hunger and health related programming for 10 years with Action Against Hunger UK
  • Jody Gunn-Russell (CAFOD HR Advisor & NGO Wellbeing Network Co-ordinator). Jody has worked in International Development Human Resources for the last 9 years. As an HR Professional, staff wellbeing has always been on the agenda and an interest of Jody's. For the last 18 months it has specifically been a key part of her role, to develop CAFOD’s wellbeing programme. When Jody first started the wellbeing role, she reached out to other NGOs and formed an ‘NGO Staff Wellbeing Network’ where they have skype conference calls and share learning and insights.
  • Dr. Gemma Houldey (Wellbeing Advisor and Facilitator for Aid Sector Professionals and Change-Makers). Gemma provides support to aid and development organisations to be more compassionate, caring and inclusive. Drawing on 15 years of work within the sector, and seminal and cutting edge doctoral research, she offers research, workshops and wellbeing practices aimed at transforming working environments and our capacities as change-makers
  • Rhonda Riachi (Development Officer, Oxford Centre for Spirituality & Wellbeing, OxINMAHR). Rhonda Riachi is Project Development Officer at the Oxford Centre for Spirituality and Wellbeing, Oxford Brookes University. She is also developing a course on Advance Care Planning for people with dementia with NDRIC, University of Northampton. For the past 5 years Rhonda has managed projects in education for dementia care, long term conditions, and end of life care, and manages the person-centred care newsletter for HEE Thames Valley. She is a researcher and teacher in Adult Education, and was the Director of the Association for Learning Technology for 14 years

The workshop will be facilitated by Martina Adamcikova BA (Hons), MA.

Biography: Martina Adamcikova is Student Communications Officer in the Directorate of Marketing and Communications at Oxford Brookes University. She has master’s degrees in Emergency Practice and Development, and also in Mass Media Communication, Philosophy and Media. Her undergraduate degree is in Global Marketing.

Martina is passionate about the promotion of human rights. Her undergraduate thesis on marketing and human rights was awarded the Oxford University Press Baines, Fill & Page Marketing Prize. For her postgraduate thesis, Martina carried out research in the Philippines, evaluating the Wellbeing cluster project and researching the mental health of aid workers. She previously volunteered in the Charity of Mother Teresa in Kolkata and also worked with HIV- positive children in Cambodia.