Murray Edwards has launched an exciting new Wellbeing Service for students, funded by a generous gift from philanthropists Christina and Peter Dawson. The Dawsons’ gift enabled the College to appoint its first Head of Wellbeing, Dr Susan Imrie. In this new role, she will provide wellbeing advice and support to the College’s undergraduate and postgraduate students, and develop structured support for student mental health and an enhanced programme of wellbeing activities.
Susan (pictured) said, “I’m delighted to join Murray Edwards in this exciting new role, which really gives us the chance to think about how we as a college can best support student mental health and make sure that all students have the chance to flourish”. She will be offering one-to-one support to students, working alongside the College nurse and counsellor, and will be able to help students access appropriate support beyond College where necessary. She will also work with tutors, tutorial staff, porters, and student representatives to ensure that there is an effective network of wellbeing support available to students across the College.
As well as working directly with students, Susan will also be developing a programme of wellbeing activities available to undergraduate and postgraduate students. She said, “There are lots of wonderful wellbeing activities already happening at Murray Edwards, and great support for the idea that we should be looking after students’ emotional, social and physical health. I’m looking forward to building on this work and identifying where the gaps are so that we can make sure we have a range of wellbeing activities that are attractive and accessible to all students.
“I’ve already had exciting conversations with college staff who have ideas for new wellbeing initiatives they’d like to develop, and some very kind offers from alumnae keen to share their skills and interests with students. This is an issue that people really care about and I’m delighted that there’s so much interest.”
Susan joined Murray Edwards from UCL, where she was a Lecturer in Psychology. Previously, she was a lecturer and researcher at the Centre for Family Research at the University of Cambridge. She is a developmental and family psychologist, who also has over a decade of experience in adolescent and young adult mental health as a volunteer counsellor in several charities. Susan said, “As a psychologist, the evidence in clear that psychological wellbeing and academic achievement are closely related. Cambridge is a unique environment and I’ve seen it from two sides, as a PhD student and as an academic. I think that these experiences should be helpful in this role, both in terms of knowing how the university and colleges work, but also understanding some of the pressures that students are under.”
Renovations are currently being carried out in time for Michaelmas term to create a new Wellbeing Centre, which will house the Head of Wellbeing, the College Nurse and the multi-faith spiritual room.