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Places I've been

The following links below mark the 21 most recent pages you have visited in Sunderland.ac.uk.

Meet the Team

About Us

We are team of Health Professionals including counsellors, mental health advisors (registered mental health nurse R.M.N and qualified psychological wellbeing practitioner) and general nurses.

What we offer to our students

  • Personalised Initial Assessment appointments so we can learn how best to support your needs
  • Silvercloud (Cognitive Behavioural Therapeutic (CBT) programmes)  It's free, confidential, easy to use, and online 24/7 
  • Self-help materials and resources
  • In-house groups and workshops
  • Wellbeing advisers who can support you with emotional and physical health issues
  • Counselling - one to one sessions with trained therapists
  • Mental Health advisers who can support you to manage mental health difficulties
  • Chaplaincy - for your spiritual and religious needs
  • C-card Scheme- Free condom's for under 24's
  • Referrals and signposting to outside agencies including NHS and local charities, groups and self-help workshops

Who can access the service?

Providing you are a registered student at University of Sunderland we are here to support you.

Tracey McKenzie

Head of Wellbeing

Tracey Mckenzie Staff Profile

I have a degree in Psychology, I am an accredited Counsellor and a qualified systemic psychotherapist. I am mindful of the relationship between physical and mental health, during the week I focus on exercising and going to a range of classes, and at the weekends I love going to the beach with my family and dog.

I feel privileged to have a such an amazing role here at the University, working with such a fantastic staff team. Our role is to support you through difficulties and provide you with the tools, resources, and techniques to help you manage life's ups and downs.

Life isn't about finding yourself, it's about creating yourself - George Bernard

Gail Jamison

Operations Manager

Gail Jamison Staff Photo

I am a qualified teacher, health promotion specialist, and have a leadership and management qualification with over 15 years of adult and child safeguarding experience. Over the years I have worked as a primary teacher, lecturer, child and adult safeguarding officer, and a community development worker. I have managed three successful Newcastle based children's centers.

I have been impressed with the dedication, skill, and passion shown by every member of our team to support and ensure that students can succeed while at University. I can assure you the team is here to support you on your journey.

Every moment is a fresh beginning and opportunities are there for the taking - TS Eliot

Wellbeing Advisers

Wellbeing Advisers can offer support and advice to students around a range of wellbeing issues. These could include; stress, anxiety, low mood, feeling overwhelmed, managing panic, family issues, transition to university.

Ashley Cave

Mental Wellbeing Adviser

Ashley Cave Staff Profile

I am a qualified psychological wellbeing practitioner (PWP) and my background is in Psychology and primary care mental health. I worked in the NHS from when I graduated in 2008. I then transitioned to work in higher education, I love supporting students in their journey at University. I think with the right support and attitude anyone can achieve their degree.

For me, looking after my own wellbeing includes running, visiting the beach and sea, and planning the next weekend away.

Life is not merely to be alive, but to live well - Marcus Valerius

Norman Nur

Mental Wellbeing Adviser

Norman Nur Staff Profile

I have a mental health nursing qualification and I have had the privileged opportunity of having worked in a wide range of health and social care settings, caring for people of all age groups by working in a holistic and evidenced based manner in order to help people take control of their health and wellbeing.

No matter how hard the situation, if you try as hard as you can you will always have a chance - so just do it!

Jessica Littlefair

Wellbeing Adviser

Jess Littlefair Staff Profile

I started here the week before Lockdown 1.0 so can’t wait to actually be back on campus to meet you all properly! My background training is in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) but I’m also currently training in a psychotherapy approach too.

So as a fellow student I can fully understand some of the challenges uni life can bring! I’ve spent several years working in NHS mental health services and have been loving bringing this experience to a student setting because I’m really keen to help make the journey a positive one.

My ‘happy place’ is out in the sunshine with friends, or anywhere where there’s a dog.

Be kind; for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle - Ian Maclaren

Charlotte Walker

Wellbeing Adviser

Charlotte Walker Staff Profile

Joining the team in lockdown has been a unique virtual experience and I am really looking forward to working with you all and my fantastic colleagues.

I have recently completed an MA in Psychotherapy and Counselling and have previously worked for a number of years in Pastoral Care as well as in Community Emotional Wellbeing settings. I am passionate about students knowing where to access Wellbeing support as well as working with students to succeed and achieve their goals.

I love travelling and have been substituting that by finding new places to explore in my local area more with walks during this past year.

“The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention”.- Oscar Wilde


Counselling is available to all university students and staff for free and provides the opportunity to meet with a professionally trained person to talk about and work through your personal problems. The Counsellor helps you to address your problems in a positive way by helping you to clarify the issues, explore options, develop strategies and increase self-awareness.

Dave Taylor

Wellbeing Practitioner

Dave Taylor Staff Profile

My background is a spell in the military which shaped the journey I chose to take. I started my counselling career back in 2010 after many life experiences I found this was the path for me. I am a qualified counsellor and work in an integrative way using different therapeutic interventions. Seeing growth and change in a person that sometimes cannot see it in themselves is my passion.

I love my job and the people that give me the opportunity to make a difference.

If we value children, we must first cherish their parents - John Bowlby

Gillian O'Donnell

Wellbeing Practitioner

Gillian ODonnell Staff Profile

Since becoming a counsellor I have worked with people who are experiencing a wide range of issues, in particular bereavement and loss. I have previously worked with different charities. I aim to help people work through their challenges and offer a safe supportive space.

Everyone is different and I am very much guided by what is helpful for each individual and their situation. I like to relax by going walking, cooking, and trying my hand at different crafts.

Determine to live with flair and laughter – Maya Angelou

Nicky Croft

Wellbeing Practitioner

Nicky Croft Staff Profile

I have gained over 10 years’ experience supporting people with various mental health issues. I offer a compassionate and very human response so that you can be real about your problems and together we will move forward.

I pride myself on being warm, accepting and welcoming which will immediately help you feel relaxed with the ability to quickly develop a trusting relationship with me. I tailor my counselling approach to each individual using several distinct models of counselling.

To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don't need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself. -Thich Nhat Hanh

Pat Allcorn

Wellbeing Practitioner

Pat Allcorn Staff Profile

I am an accredited counsellor, supervisor and family therapist. I have many years' experience of working in Universities. 




The unexamined life is not worth living - Socrates

Sian Holding

Wellbeing Practitioner

Sian Holding Staff Profile

I work on evenings at the University, Counselling, as I work at CAMHS in my day job as a Mental Health Practitioner. I have a degree in Sociology, PGCE, Masters in Counselling, being a BACP accredited Counsellor and also an IPT UK accredited Interpersonal Therapist. I try to be a good listener and hope to motivate people into living their best lives. I love animals and reality TV and go by the saying ‘Every day is a new day’.

I love working at the Uni and have been here for quite a few years; It’s a privilege to support the students here and I do it together with the support of my passionate and fabulous colleagues.

It means a lot to me when I can see a student feeling better and gaining new understandings and strategies to manage their difficulties.


Welfare staff can help to support with more practical issues which may be impacting upon your study.  This may be with other student, accommodation, support to link with local health care services and much more.  Much of this work supports you to make links with wider partners both within the university and across Sunderland.  Support may be a one off intervention or may last for several days.

Donna Tonkinson

Wellbeing Adviser, Student Welfare

Donna Tonkinson Staff Profile

Before working for the team, I had a rich and varied career as an applied theatre practitioner using theatre as a tool for change in probation and prison settings, secure mental health hospitals, tier 1-3 community provision, and community settings. I also have extensive experience as a teacher/lecturer of theatre. I am passionate about how arts and health can work in tandem to promote positive wellbeing and I am training as a psychodramatist at the London Centre of Psychodrama, with the aim of becoming a fully UKCP registered practitioner.

I believe that creativity, spontaneity and expression are the key to living a full and enriching life.

When a flower doesn't bloom, you fix the environment in which it grows, not the flower - Alexander Dan Heiger

Student Advisers

Student Adviser are your first point of contact when using the Wellbeing Service and Student Support Services. They can offer advice by answering your questions and, if required, signpost you to the most appropriate Service to help with your enquiry

Sandra Rennoldson

Student Adviser

Sandra Rennoldson Staff Profile

I have worked at the university for many years and continue to achieve great satisfaction from witnessing students develop confidence, belief in themselves, and achieving their goals after accessing our service. 


It is very important to know who you are. To make decisions. To show who you are - Malala Yousafzi

Kirsty Evers

Student Adviser

Kirsty Evers Staff Profile

I have a degree in Media, Culture, and Communications (2019) and a Masters in Inequality and Society (2020) from the University of Sunderland. I am really interested in supporting students in accessing the services available at university because I know how beneficial they can be from my time as a student. Working with the team is amazing, you won't find a more dedicated, passionate, and thoughtful group of people who just want to help students.

I know the night just got darker, but it won't last forever - Nick Valentine


Chaplaincy support offers confidential individual pastoral care and encourages and helps to develop relationships with people of different faiths across Campus. We have a number of different University Chaplains here to support you. Chris Howson also provides support for International students with Mindfulness sessions and work to support students’ sense of belonging while on campus.

You can read more about the Chaplaincy support on offer by clicking here

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