UC student Mikey took on the 27 27 challenge this March, attempting to run 27 miles in 27 days raising money in solidarity with the 27% of students who report suffering from mental health issues each year. He is raising money for the charity MIND, which offers advice and support for anyone struggling with mental health problems, and campaigns to improve services and raise awareness.
Mental Health and the challenge
Given the mental health emergency the Coronavirus pandemic has sparked, Mikey, who is studying his second year of the FD Photography programme, was eager to do something to demonstrate his support for fellow students during this difficult time. We asked Mikey what made him get involved with 27 27 and how he is getting on with the challenge so far: ‘’Mental health is something I continue to suffer with, and I think it’s greatly underfunded. Although this is only going to one charity, I think it’ll hopefully be helpful for many people who are able to access it.’’ He added ‘’I managed to raise £251.25 so far for the charity, it was easier than I expected to get people on board, likely due to the pandemic showing these problems more in everyone’’. Mikey admitted that 27 miles in 27 days is a daunting challenge and it’s tough to stay motivated after the first week or so, but he was determined to complete the challenge and raise awareness for mental health. Every student taking part in the 27/27 challenge is sending a clear message – it’s time to take our mental health seriously, and we won’t give up until everyone with a mental health problem gets support and respect. So far, 11,027 young people have taken part in 27 27. Collectively they’ve run 187,223 miles, that’s about 7.5 times around the world, raising a staggering £943,836.31.
As well as attempting the 27 27 challenge, Mikey is a student representative for the University Centre. Representing the views of students on his course to enhance and develop the student experience. We asked him the kind of support he offers as a student rep ‘’Mostly it’s emotional support. I give people the chance to air their views anonymously, and I think that’s the best help I’m able to offer.’’ He added his recommendations about getting involved ‘’Don’t think about it too much. Try it, if it’s not for you, try something else. There is no “giving up”, only figuring out what you dislike.
Accessing support whilst you study
University Centre Leeds offers a range of mental health support for its students. Students can refer themselves for an assessment through the online referral form to discuss the support available, they can ask for assistance with this process from a tutor or get in touch directly. There is counselling and mentoring available to students who are struggling as well as information about external support. Mikey, who accesses support, recommends that if you are considering reaching out to the Student Support team ‘’Figure out what you want and ask if it exists. You only get by asking, and the benefits of doing that might help you in more ways than you initially think. I have accessed mental health support, which was helpful for me to get things off of my chest.”You can support Mikey’s fundraising for 27 27 by donating here. Or if you’d like to learn more about the challenge, check out the MIND website. If you’re a University Centre Leeds student looking for mental health support you can find out more information via the Mental Health page.