Wellbeing support enabled by donations

Support received by the Trinity Hall Fund in 2021/22 made the Head of Wellbeing post possible. Collective gifts received towards Student Support in 2023/24 will match the University of Cambridge £17,952 funding of the ‘Live Well Learn Well’ project in College.

The project aims to equip students with the necessary skills, tools, and opportunities to study efficiently and effectively, whilst simultaneously looking after their wellbeing to further improve their learning, health, and enjoyment of being a student. It investigates and establishes the link between wellbeing, learning, and academic performance. The goal is to reduce the number of students who come into avoidable difficulty, and for those who do come into difficulty, for them to recognise this sooner to enable early intervention.

Trinity Hall has been leading the way in recent years and has embraced the recommendations form the University’s strategic review of mental health. The “stepped care approach” across collegiate Cambridge enables us to focus our efforts on prevention and lower-severity cases. Studying at Cambridge is intense and students can experience different types of mental health issues, which affect their ability to study. Despite this, Cambridge has a lower dropout rate than the average for UK Universities, at just under 1%. Other UK Universities see as many as one in five students leave by the end of their first year. The stronger performance at Cambridge directly reflects the role Colleges play in pastoral care.

Lisa Déry

Head of Wellbeing

“My role is not just about supporting the wellbeing of students and staff at Trinity Hall, but also about actively improving their wellbeing. Wellbeing touches all aspects of College life and is so much more than just providing one-to-one support in times of need. It allows us to consider how we support students to not only fully embrace their student experience, but also to develop life skills that will see them through post-study life. And it allows us to think about how we equip staff with the knowledge and skills they need to provide students with great experiences, thus contributing to their own sense of purpose and enjoyment of their work.”

Students can go to the Wellbeing Team with any issue impacting on their wellbeing – whether it’s mental health, physical health, disability-related or other. We deliver expert assessment and triage to enable students to get the right support at the right time, and we provide wellbeing advice and support informed by evidence-based practice. Where students experience moderate or high-severity issues, we escalate and refer them into the more specialised University Student Support Services, the NHS or specialist services.

Three smiling women sitting beneath a tree. They are the Trinity Hall (Cambridge) Wellbeing Team.

The Wellbeing Team

Our professional, friendly and approachable team includes a Head of Wellbeing who is also an Advisor (Lisa Déry), a nurse (Jo Rhodes) and a Wellbeing Adviser (Carol Rockley). Students can contact them directly to arrange an assessment, or they can be referred by their tutor.

Photo left to right: Jo Rhodes (Nurse), Lisa Déry (Head of Wellbeing), Carol Rockley (Wellbeing Advisor)

Focusing our efforts on lower-severity cases and prevention enables us to work with our community of students, staff and Fellows to consider how we can embed wellbeing in all we do and promote health and resilience across the College. With our whole institution community approach, we aim to foster an environment in which students can flourish academically and personally, empowering and equipping them to manage the everyday stressors involved in student life and prevent issues from escalating.

One of the key functions of the Wellbeing Team is to empower and support students in looking after their own wellbeing through a programme of wellbeing initiatives, such as:

  • Inclusive teaching practices
  • Study-skills support
  • Stress management workshops
  • Opportunities for social connection, creativity and getting physically active

These initiatives play an important role in enriching the lives of our students, making their experience at Cambridge as worthwhile and fulfilling as possible. Whether it be a cycling in Cambridge course, a sleep wellbeing roadshow, an exam preparation workshop, or an opportunity to spend time with animals, there should be something for everyone.

Student using monkey-bars

It is widely recognised that physical activity plays a fundamental role in wellbeing and can help develop a sense of community. The Cambridge Active Survey undertaken by the University in 2022 showed that financial barriers were preventing students from participating in physical activity.

Seventeen percent of Trinity Hall students surveyed stated finance was preventing them from undertaking leisure activities since joining University, and 33% were unsure how to start. We had the idea for an outdoor trim trail at Wychfield, as this gives our community the opportunity to exercise in the fresh air, providing physical and mental respite anytime they choose. It includes six pieces of equipment spaced around the playing fields.

Thanks to your collective generosity, we can enhance wellbeing support across our community, providing vital structures and expertise for those who need it.

If you wish to learn more about how you can get involved, please contact development@trinhall.cam.ac.uk.