As part of our Building a better chemistry culture series, we hosted a webinar to recognise 2023’s Mental Health Awareness Week (15-21 May) – focusing on anxiety.

Anxiety is an emotion we all experience, and it is also one of the most common mental health conditions. Anxiety can affect anyone and can sometimes become overwhelming. Even if you are not experiencing difficulties yourself, then it might be that you have friends, family or colleagues who are. Knowing how best to find support for yourself or others makes for a more inclusive and supportive workplace and is key to the mental health of ourselves and those around us. But recognising anxiety and finding ways to cope with it, or seek help when necessary, are sometimes not obvious.

In this hour-long, interactive webinar, our invited speakers address anxiety in the context of the social model of disability: knowing when to seek support, overcoming internalised stigma and finding community, and making adjustments for anxiety in a laboratory context.

In this webinar you will learn about:

  • The power of a social model perspective for those experiencing anxiety
  • Research into adjustments that can be made in a laboratory setting for chemistry students with mental health conditions
  • Practical steps to understanding your anxiety and when to seek support

BSL interpretation will be provided by Gemma Mazza. Gemma has over 8 years experience and loves meeting new people during her work.

Portrait photo of Thor A Rain

Speaker: Thor A Rain

For over a decade, Thor A Rain has helped thousands of people manage and improve their physical, mental, and social health. They’re uniquely qualified to do so having recovered from complex PTSD, ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia. During their recovery Thor developed the First Aid for Feelings method and once recovered they completed a Master’s degree and a clinical diploma which included clinical hypnosis, Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) and coaching. Thor set up a social enterprise in 2015 to help others, The Helpful Clinic. The clinic’s social mission is to improve people’s health and well-being by increasing health and emotional literacy through consultations and projects like the First Aid for Feelings Manual.


Portrait photo of Debbie Willison

Speaker: Debbie Willison

Professor Debbie Willison is Deputy Associate Principal (Online Learning and Teaching) at the University of Strathclyde, UK. She has held an academic post for over 30 years and while initially researching in organometallic chemistry, her current interests lie in the areas of student transitions and mental health, education for sustainability, the enhancement of student employability skills and the use of technology – including online and blended learning – to invigorate the learner journey and enhance the student experience.


Portrait photo of Kirsty Ross

Speaker: Kirsty Ross

Dr Kirsty Ross is a microbiologist by training and has extensive experience working across three of Scotland’s higher education institutions (St Andrews, Strathclyde and Edinburgh) in the field of public engagement with research. Equity has always been a key driver in her approach to engagement. Her engagement strategy focuses on industrial and third sector organisations, as well as under-represented groups and audiences with low science, technology, engineering, maths (Stem) capital, who would otherwise be overlooked, such as early years settings, those in prison and young people with additional support needs.

Kirsty Ross is currently Explorathon Project Manager and Industrial Liaison Officer at the University of St Andrews, as well as Knowledge Exchange Associate at the University of Strathclyde.

Royal Society of Chemistry logo

Chemistry World and the Inclusion and Diversity team at the Royal Society of Chemistry are proud to offer a webinar series to support the chemical sciences community in response to and beyond the Covid-19 pandemic.

Throughout the Building a better chemistry culture series, we will illuminate the science behind the issues being experienced and provide support tailored to the needs of chemical scientists including sharing coping strategies and reducing stigma around mental health and wellbeing.

The Inclusion and Diversity team drives and coordinates the strategy across all Royal Society of Chemistry activities to support a more inclusive and diverse chemical sciences community. Through research, advocacy and recognising success, we are working to make ‘chemistry for everyone’ a reality. Find out more about our work here.