Mental Health Awareness Week

Organised by the Mental Health Foundation, Mental Health Awareness Week is taking place from 10 to 16 May.

Founded in 1949, the Mental Health Foundation is the UK’s leading charity for mental health.

Throughout the pandemic, millions of people across the UK have experienced a mental health problem. This week helps us to understand more about mental health, how it affects us, the different conditions and support available.


This year’s focus is on nature, as many of us have found the outdoors to be helpful in improving our wellbeing during the pandemic. 

Over the past year, we’ve seen an increase in people gardening, going on walks and exploring the outdoors – all of which have been essential for our mental health. 

Research from the Mental Health Foundation showed that going for walks outside was one of our top coping strategies, with 45% of us reporting how being in green spaces had been vital for our mental health.

During lockdowns, people have not only spent more time in nature, but have learnt to appreciate and notice it more; highlighting a fundamental need to connect with our outdoor environment.


Bringing nature into your everyday life can have positive effects on your personal wellbeing. It can:

  • Enhance your mood
  • Reduce feelings of stress and anger
  • Help you take a break and feel relaxed
  • Improve your physical health
  • Build your confidence
  • Encourage you to be more active
  • Helps you make new connections 

Getting involved 

Support the Mental Health Foundation by taking part in half an hour of outdoor exercise each day in May. This can include anything from walking, running, jogging and skipping – and remember to appreciate the nature surrounding you.

You are also encouraged to share your experiences by taking a photo or video and joining the discussion on how you’re connecting with nature by using the hashtags #ConnectWithNature #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek.

To discover the best walks in the local Leeds area, have a read of these articles on Leeds List and Yorkshire Evening Post.

College activities

At Leeds Sixth Form College, we’ll also be celebrating Mental Health Awareness Week through a series of events. 

Our Academic Coach and MindMate Champion, Chris Flint, is running a Mental Health Self Help Google Classroom for staff and students from 10 May. These sessions will discuss mental health, how to find support, coping mechanisms and self help tips. Students can get involved in these sessions by using the Google Classroom code: Xllslsb.  

As part of the Virtual World of Work and Work Experience Week, the morning timetable for Wednesday 12 May has been dedicated to ‘Upskill Yourself’ activities. This is an opportunity for positive reflection, where students can build on their strengths and attributes. Examples of these sessions include managing stress and anxiety, motivational techniques, understanding your strengths and overcoming fear.

Students will also be campaigning this week as the student unions elections take place on campus. This will be a great opportunity for students to have their voice and bring about positive change.

We are raising money for Mind, the mental health charity, through a 24 hour gym session fundraiser. From 9am on Thursday 27 May to 9am on Friday 28 May, colleagues are invited to either pedal, cycle, cross-train or row in a 30 minute slot during the 24 hour period. The fundraiser will take place in the brand-new Eco-Powr gym, where the exercise machines are specially designed to generate power for our college. 

All sixth form tutorials will have a mental health awareness focus, based on this year’s theme of nature.