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News article

Mental Health Awareness Week 10- 16 May 2021

Published: 03 May 2021

  •   Featured
  •   Staff
  •    Students
An empty bench surrounded by trees

A quiet place to relax in the Peace Garden

Mental Health Awareness Week 2021 begins on 10 May and this year’s theme is nature. At York St John University, our environmental wellbeing team have taken inspiration from our biodiverse campus and the incredible organisations we know and work with to provide our University community with events, resources, tips and support.

Across the week, join us by building in some small yet effective activities into your daily lives to feel more positive and able to get the most out of life.

Immerse yourself in Mental Health UK’s '5 Ways to Wellbeing', while reconnecting with nature during this week: Connect; Be Active; Take Notice; Keep Learning; Give.


Connection is about relating to one and other and feeling understood. It’s about speaking to the people in your life and building new connections to expand your circles, at work or in your local community. Developing more connections will support and enrich you every day.

Be Active

Engaging in regular physical activity is known to go hand in hand with lower rates of depression and anxiety across all age groups. From a short walk to manage your day to a run or bike ride, being active outdoors can bring huge benefits for mental health. You don’t have to go anywhere special to be more active in nature, there’s lots you can do in a garden, urban green spaces or on campus.

Release feel-good hormones by discovering a physical activity you enjoy, that suits your level of mobility and fitness.

  • YSJActive are offering the following sessions for FREE as part of Mental Health Awareness Week.

    Female Only Gym – Tuesday and Thursday: 09:30 – 10:30 and 10:45 – 11:45, Wednesday: 17:50 – 18:50
    Gym sessions – Monday - Friday 12:00 – 13:00
    Zumba – Friday 17:00 – 18:00 All sessions must be booked via the online store please.
    Yoga and Meditation for Inner Peace: Thursday 13th May 7.30-8.30pm with Jenny Carpenter (School of Education, Language & Psychology). This gentle one hour practice will guide you through seated yogic movements for the whole body and help you connect to your breathing. You will become aware of your mind and the slowing down of your nervous system. The practice will end with a deep relaxation and meditation.
    Join here: 
    Meeting ID: 720 779 1339
    Passcode: 707832

  • Take a guided tour of our beautiful, biodiverse campus and grounds. Look out for our bird nesting boxes, rare tansy beetle habitats and find out what makes us a hedgehog friendly campus. Book here.
  • Download our YSJ Mental Health Week and Nature guide PDF 0.3MB for activities, spaces and places to visit, walk and cycle in York.
  • Exercise in nature for 30 minutes a day by signing up to the Mental Health Foundations’ Take Action, Get Active campaign.
    Lace up for the Mental Health UK 5k challenge! Get involved in a fun, accessible and collaborative way to fundraise for Mental Health UK.

Take Notice

Being in a state of ‘mindfulness’ has been shown to be associated with a positive mental state. Greater awareness of the world around us helps us see the unusual and notice simple pleasures like the changing seasons. Reflecting on your experiences will help you appreciate what matters to you. Here’s how to get started with mindfulness or forest bathing.

Keep Learning

Learning something new is good for your brain. Try something different, rediscover an old interest or sign up for a course you’ve always wanted to do to improve your confidence and widen your skillset. Take on a new responsibility at work, do some arts and crafts or cook up up an interesting recipe. The challenge and enjoyment of learning new things gives a sense of fulfilment that is second to none.

While you’re studying...

Mental Health Awareness Week takes place during a stressful time for students completing end of year assessments.

York St John University Students Union are here to help.

Read SU President Jamie’s personal experience of mental health challenges and what support services available.

There's some good advice in this exam stress tips blog

Head over to the YSJSU Facebook page where you can find a new episode of the Boys Don’t Cry podcast, student submissions on what mental health means to them and a Q&A session hosted by Jamie.

And don't forget - our Wellbeing and Welfare teams are here to support you with anything from an informal chat to 24/7 counselling services.


Giving encapsulates many things – from showing goodwill and generosity of spirit to giving presents and giving up our time. Evidence suggests that ‘giving back’ or helping others promotes wellbeing for all ages. Why not do something nice for a friend, or a stranger. Thank someone. You could even volunteer your time with a charity or join an online community to give and receive peer support in equal measure. The key to giving is to look outwards, as well as inwards. Seeing yourself, and your happiness, linked to the wider community can be incredibly rewarding and creates connections with the people around you.

Here are are some of the fantastic local charities you could support.


Contact us

Communications team

York St John University, Lord Mayors Walk, York, YO31 7EX

01904 876 466

To contact us out of hours, phone 07812 365 499