How running 27 miles in March has helped UWE Bristol student Chloe raise awareness of student mental health.

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By Chloe, BA (Hons) Creative and Professional Writing.

Student Chloe, talks about what inspired her to run 27 miles in March for the charity, Mind. She shares how this has helped her to become more aware of her own mental health and how she hopes to inspire other students to talk about mental health and find their own coping strategies. Keep reading to find out more.

As a student at UWE Bristol I have been encouraged to learn, inspire, and push boundaries throughout my degree, but I’ve also had the comfort of knowing there are people there to support me if I’ve needed them.

Mental health is an important conversation and one that UWE Bristol encourages their students to think about. During my time here, I’ve been supported to develop my own coping strategies for my mental health and wanted to do something to help to encourage others to do the same. Therefore, I recently participated in a challenge with the Mind charity to run 27 miles in the first 27 days of March. This was to show solidarity with the 27% of students who report a mental health issue in university and also raise awareness and money for live-saving resources to help those in need of support.

I regularly write a blog called ‘A Little Insight’ and through this am very open with how I am feeling, plus the realities and pressures of student life. I try to be as transparent as possible, even if I do want to focus on motivation and positive attitudes that can get you through tough times. There is so much pressure on young people to have everything figured out, but many of us don’t, and with the covid-19 pandemic hitting, for soon-to-be-graduates like me – it’s an even more daunting world to be heading into.

It’s okay if there are times when you are not okay, and I wanted to make sure that I was putting out this message and try to open the conversation with more students.

Chloe

It’s important to me that I try to raise as much awareness as possible to help other students who are feeling stressed, and sign post them to services within UWE Bristol if they are struggling.

As I was going through this process, I wanted to see an increased number of people be more educated on where to find help, ways to manage and improve their mental health and feel safer and more comfortable opening the conversation.

Reflecting on the run

The running was by no means easy, not being a runner, I struggled going far at a fast pace, but over the course of the challenge I improved and really put my mind to it. I learned to be determined and succeed in my goals and I realised that being outdoors in the fresh air whilst exercising can really make a difference to your mindset.

Being in third year, and almost everything being online, it’s seen me (like many other students globally) inside on screens more than ever. It’s felt weirdly isolating spending so much time indoors, even if we can go out for a walk. However, doing some cardio, getting my blood flowing for a good purpose made me more motivated and uplifted as it became a habit. It felt good after my run and I ended up reflecting personally on how much I check in on my mental health.

I feel like I’ve been acknowledging and knowing what mental health is but not fully checking in deeply more frequently and more seriously.

The mind is truly a powerful thing and if we keep our mind healthy and happy it generally does lead to a better mindset and attitude, from my personal experience.

Chloe

Funds, fun and five minutes with famous faces

I managed to complete the challenge within 12 days, raising 314.2% of my target fundraising goal of £127, instead raising a whopping £399 plus gift aid. I also had the chance to be interviewed by James Hanson on BBC Radio Bristol and talk openly to a wider audience about mental health and what the challenge was all about.

I feel like I have succeeded on a personal level as well as on the fundraising level and raising awareness. I hope it has made an impact, even just to get people talking and thinking about mental health and break that taboo. I also hope I may have inspired others to think more about their mental health and encourage them to find their own coping and stress busting strategies.

Watch Chloe’s video diary and let her share her journey with you.

Find out more about the range of support offered at UWE Bristol for your Health and Wellbeing.

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