Mind is one of the biggest mental health charities in the UK. It provides advice and support to people struggling with their mental health as well as raising awareness and campaigning to improve mental health services.

Mental health charity Mind launched the 27 27 challenge to help people struggling with mental health, particularly students

During March, Mind runs the 27 27 challenge to raise money to improve the mental health of students.

So how can you help students struggling with mental health while improving your own?Here are 20 things you should know before starting your 27 27 fundraising adventure:

1. What is the 27 27 challenge?

The 27 27 challenge is a movement for better mental health for students. According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), 37 percent of first-year university students in England have symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Mind are fundraising to increase treatments for young people suffering with their mental health and are calling students from all over the UK to join. The event involves you running 27 miles in 27 days during March.

2. When does the 27 27 challenge start?

The 27 27 challenge runs throughout the entirety of march you can sign up between the 1st and 6th March.

3. When does the challenge end?

The challenge lasts 27 days. Its up to you if you run a mile a day for 27 consecutive days or if you have a rest day during the challenge.

4. Do you have to run?

The point of the 27 27 challenge is to promote exercise and increase support of people struggling with their mental health. However, if running isn’t your thing, then you are welcome to move in anyway that feels right for you, whether that is running, walking or skipping.

You don’t have to run! Move in whichever way feels best for you- whether thats cycling, walking or even dancing through the 27 miles

5. How much does it cost to join?

The 27 27 challenge is completely free to join. All Mind ask is that you raise as much money as you can. When you receive your first donation Mind will send you a free t-shirt as a thank you and encouragement to keep going.

6. How do you raise money?

Once you register for the challenge Mind will send you emails weekly with tips on how to fundraise. Start by setting a target amount and sharing your fundraising page with family and friends.

7. How can you donate:

Not everybody can take part in the 27 27 challenge but donations are hugely appreciated by the charity. You can donate on someone’s GivePenny page while they complete the challenge, or you could simply donate what you can via the Mind website.

8. Should you set up a fundraising page?

Fundraising online is the easiest form of raising money. There are loads of fundraising sites to choose from like Just Giving and GoFundMe. Mind suggests using GivePenny.

It’s important to make sure the site you use is safe and credible.

9. How much should you fundraise?

Charities such as Mind run exclusively off donations and whatever can be given is appreciated. The 27 27 challenge have certain milestones to aim for while fundraising. When you raise £27 Mind will send you a 27 27 challenge medal for completing it.

After raising £127 the medal will be sent along with an exclusive pair of socks. £270 will add an extra bonus reward as well as the medal and socks.

10. Where does the money go?

Mind spend 82p for every pound they raise. This goes on supporting people with mental health problems. £127 raised could help Mind answer another 12 enquiries, produce 1,270 booklets on mental health and keep their online peer support community open for another 4 hours.

11. Represent your university:

The 27 27 challenge runs as a competition between the universities and colleges across the UK. The more donations a university/college raise the higher on the leader board they will find themselves.

Currently the University of Nottingham is at the top of the table. University of Lincoln has raised £72 and can be found in 43rd place.

12. How to connect with other runners:

Support from others can be beneficial to help keep you motivated and encourage you. Mind know this and have set up a 27 27 Facebook group where you can keep in touch with other people taking part in the challenge.

You can also keep everyone updated on your progress and keep up with others by posting with the hashtag #2727challenge on any platform.

13. How can exercise help someone’s mental health:

Regular exercise releases endorphins and other natural brain chemicals that can ease depression and anxiety. Exercise has been proven to improve sleep, endurance, stress, and energy.


Running tips:

Struggling to stay motivated? Create a playlist of empowering, upbeat anthems with a friend and complete the challenge alongside them

14. Wear the right clothing:

March has unpredictable weather throughout. You need to make sure you’re dressed for your run. Layers are a great idea for spring weather. You should also look to loose fitting clothing made from breathable fabrics.

15. Don’t forget to warm up and cool down:

Warmups can make the run so much easier. It stimulates your muscles and improves your performance by raising the temperature of your muscles which lowers resistance.

Cool downs allow a gradual recovery and regulates your blood flow. It allows your body temperature, blood pressure and heart rate back to their normal levels.

16. How to track your miles:

Tracking the miles you run can be really simple. There are countless apps you can choose from that will track your route. Strava is a recommended app that can link directly with fundraising pages you are using.

17. Plan your routes before leaving:

Staying safe on a run is a priority for everybody. Plan your route out before you leave the house. This way you don’t have to worry about getting lost and you know exactly how long you will be running for.

18. Create your running playlist:

Studies show songs with 120 – 140 beats per minute help make your running feel easier. Choosing upbeat songs that you love and that motivate you will help encourage you to keep running.

19. Find your pace:

If you want to run the entire 27 miles you need to find a correct pace. You may need to slow down to achieve your target distance. It may sound counterintuitive but slowing down can help sustain your stamina. Running on the treadmill can help you keep your pace steady and at the speed you want.

20. Run with friends:

Running with a friend can encourage you to keep you running. Having a friend can also help you keep your pace. This is because you should be running at a pace slow enough that you can still talk to someone else.

Although it may sometimes seem it, you are never alone. Talking to someone, such as a friend, family member, University staff or even someone at Mind or  Samaritans could help

Mental health can often be difficult to manage. Mind strives to help people all over the UK to deal with their mental health.

You can check out the 27 27 challenge by visiting https://www.mind.org.uk/get-involved/donate-or-fundraise/take-on-an-active-challenge/run-for-mind/27-27/

If you are struggling with your mental health, you can find support from Samaritans by calling 116 123 or emailing jo@samaritans.org.