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York Walk returns to raise awareness of mental health

Posted on 28 May 2020

Residents in York are being encouraged to take part in a charity walk to help raise money to promote good mental health across the community.

Last year’s event saw 90 participants come together to walk 25 miles through historic York and some of its surrounding countryside

The Short York Walk has been adapted to comply with current social distancing measures, with participants able to complete the 25 mile walk over seven, 14 or 25 days from 31 May.

Led by the University of York, the walk supports a charitable fund that will raise money to promote good mental health among members of the local community.

Support so far

The fund, called Mentally Fit York, was established in 2019 and has, so far, supported mental health nursing; one of the UK’s first cohort studies into student wellbeing, and provided access to the Big White Wall – a mental health platform for current and prospective students who are suffering from mental ill-health.  

It has also enabled the creation of a new University of York Student Mentoring Programme through which current students at York can mentor young people in care providing these young people with support on a range of issues, from mental health and wellbeing, to goal setting and future-planning.

All funds raised will be used to promote good mental health for University students and members of the York community, which could include school teachers, sports clubs, business managers, and community group leaders.

Pressing global challenges

Mentally Fit York forms part of the University commitment to tackle some of the most pressing global challenges, such as ensuring good mental health, access to education, and job creation. 

Last year’s event saw 90 participants come together to walk 25 miles through historic York and some of its surrounding countryside, finishing at the University of York’s Campus West. 

This year’s participants, including the University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Charlie Jeffery and President of the Students Union Samara Jones, are asked to think creatively about the ways in which they can responsibly complete the 25 mile challenge and raise funds for the Fund.

The Head of the University’s English Department, Professor Helen Smith has got really creative and over seven days will walk 25 miles in the footsteps of York’s literary greats.

COVID-19 crisis

Mary Haworth, Director Office of Philanthropic Partnerships and Alumni said: “It is really important that we continue to raise support for new research and mental health interventions through the Mentally Fit York fund. We have seen incidents of mental ill-health rise as a result of social distancing and social isolation and through the disruption caused to so many people’s lives as a consequence of the current crisis.”

“Research has already started to show how being active and outdoors can play an important role in creating positive mental wellbeing.  If we can encourage more people to get involved and at the same time, raise money for the future of mental health care, then we will create an important source of support for our student and our local community.”  

The Short York Walk will launch on 31 May 2020.  If you would like to take part more information and registration for the event can be found at


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