Walk for Wellbeing


Walk for Wellbeing

On Tuesday the 13th of December I was lucky enough to attend one of the Occupational Therapy student’s community projects, which are run bi-yearly and are organised by a cohort of students who are tasked with carrying out an activity or project around an element of their course that interests them.

The group that I worked with organised a walk for wellbeing called the ‘Walk and Talk event’ for foundation year students at Canterbury College. Their foundation course is based around life skills and preparing them for education and the module they had just undertaken was on managing their mental wellbeing. Therefore, the walk came at the perfect time for them! The purpose of the walk was for the students to talk about their course and their current feelings, concerning college and the prospects of higher education.

The occupational therapy students took the group around campus, spending time in the wellbeing garden to discuss the positive impacts of immersing yourself in nature to improve mental health. This was followed by them walking up to Verena Holmes where the university students spoke about their course and their facilities to make higher education feel more inclusive to all.

Once the tour was over, the students had refreshments and biscuits in Verona Holmes, where there was a chance to talk about mental health and their experiences, facilitated by a wellbeing pack organised by the university students, full of out-of-hour mental health services and different avenues for support. These leaflets were a talking point for the number of resources available and the different methods of support, especially around the winter period.

Image description: a table with the wellbeing packs and leaflets displayed

The premise of the activity was using the proposed strengths of walking for your mental wellbeing to support the college students.

Some of these strengths are

  • Supporting being active
  • Immersion into nature
  • Meeting like-minded people to form a support network
  • Encouragement throughout the walk
  • The chance to speak to professionally trained volunteers or paid support staff
  • Being surrounded by people as a chance to have company throughout the walk
Image description: the wellbeing packs, leaflets and a Christ Church tote bag

Throughout the walk, I felt the positive impacts of being in the wellbeing garden and I felt that talking to a range of people with different opinions and outlooks on life allowed me to gain different solutions to stresses (especially around deadline season).  Through talking to the other staff members, it was clear that the walk helped both the students and the staff equally, and the occupational therapy students greatly recommend taking a walk especially in times of stress, whether that be alone, with a group of friends or even in an organised group.

There are a number of groups that organise similar walks and there are a few in the wider Kent area if you are interested in getting involved:

  • The Mental Health Mates organisation runs walk in the wider England community. There is a set schedule of walks in Maidstone (the 1st Sunday of every month) so if there are any students based in Maidstone or the surrounding areas it would be highly beneficial activity to get involved with. Find out more at: Find a walk – Mental Health Mates

By Amber Tydeman, SGO Project Officer #livingwell

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