Photo of students engaged in creative activities held as part of World Mental Health Day programme

Loughborough becomes the first University to host a Mental Health Mates walk as part of programme of activities for World Mental Health Day

Loughborough University became the first higher education institution in the UK to host a Mental Health Mates walk as part of a series of activities taking place across the campus to mark World Mental Health Day on 10 October.

Organised by teams across the University such as Human Resources and Organisation Development -which includes the Health and Safety Service and Occupational Health - the events were free to attend and open to staff, students and on-campus partners.

Examples of events taking place across the day included inspirational talks, yoga sessions, creative wellbeing areas, positive thinking sessions and stressbuster massages.

Loughborough University London also held a free cake stall to bring together the community of staff members and postgraduate taught and research students based there. It was well received with comments about how positive it felt to speak openly about mental health and the reassurance felt that the University was working to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health.

In addition, Mental Health First Aiders were present at different locations across both campuses to listen to colleagues and signpost them to the support services available.

Mental Health First Aiders were located across campus to signpost support services 

Mental Health Mates was created by bestselling author and journalist Bryony Gordon in 2016 as a national network of peer support groups who regularly meet to talk and walk without fear of judgement.

Since its inception, walks have taken place across the UK as well as countries in Europe, North American and the Middle East.

Many staff and students went along to the walk on the Loughborough campus, which boasts 400 acres of land, much of which is green and acts as a home for various species of wildlife.

photo of staff and students on the walk

Staff and students at the Mental Health Mates walk on campus

Talking about the day, Loughborough’s Staff Lead for Mental Health and Wellbeing Nadine Skinner said: “There were so many brilliant examples of the different ways in which staff and students got involved across both campuses, from listening to some very raw and real experiences of mental health recovery, enjoying a stress-busting massage, visiting our mental health first aid stands or simply attending sessions exploring men’s mental health, suicide awareness and positive thinking.

“Perhaps most importantly, whilst World Mental Health day is a great initiative for the University to support, the key thing to remember is it’s not just about one specific day – looking after our mental health should happen every day and hopefully some of the events will be a catalyst for greater awareness and more quality conversations going forward!”