In 2012, Mindapples was one of the founding partners of University Mental Health Day, a new annual event focussing on student mental health and wellbeing. Initially called University Mental Health and Wellbeing Day, the event was started by the Universities Mental Health Advisers Network (UMHAN) and the University of Warwick to put a spotlight on student health.
Leaving home for university can be lonely and stressful for many new students, and the pressures on students and graduates have been increasing for many years. UMHAN is a national UK charity that connects and supports mental health professionals working in education. They experienced a huge jump in students accessing their services in 2011, linked to the challenges around student debt and the introduction of student fees, and Sarah Ashworth at the University of Warwick felt it was important to do something to help students cope and look after their mental health.
Mindapples’ founder Andy Gibson spoke at the launch event on 22 February 2012, together with Sue Baker from Time to Change and representatives from UMHAN, the University of Warwick and key student groups (some of whom later became Student Minds). The launch was focussed on stigma reduction and promoting the 5 Ways to Wellbeing, and we helped by providing a Mindapples tree and applecards to get attendees thinking about their minds. We also signed the Time to Change pledge together.
The launch was a great success and in 2013 we played a major role in promoting the wider campaign to universities, providing Mindapples trees and event toolkits to universities around the UK. “All the students approached were happy to participate and were very open when writing down their five mindapples. It encouraged discussion amongst groups of friends and hopefully encouraged them to acknowledge the things they already do to look after their mental health,” said Lydia Pell, Mental Health Co-ordinator at the University of East Anglia.
Since then we have sold 10,000s of applecards to universities as part of this ongoing campaign, and over 100 UK universities now have their own mindapples trees and toolkits for promoting student wellbeing.
University Mental Health Day has gone on to become a key fixture in the mental health calendar and a recognised annual awareness day, and continues to be run by UMHAN and our friends at Student Minds.