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Run 27 miles over 27 days to fight for student mental health – all you need to know

30 January 2023


What is 27 27?

27 27 is a fitness challenge that’s all about raising money for student mental health. It’s simple – sign up and run 27 miles in 27 days to raise money for Mind.

Every step you take on those 27 days will help support student mental health. It’s going to power our helplines, help write our information and be there for students and anyone else who needs us.

When you take on 27 27, you’re sending a message. You’re telling the world it’s time we take student mental health seriously. That we won’t give up until everyone with a mental health problem gets support and respect.

Moving more is good for you too. And not just for your body either – but also your mind. Exercising for something like this can help you sleep better, feel better, and help keep stress and anxiety in check. Plus, it’s a chance for you to get to know other people.

This year we’re also going to share 27 reasons why student mental health needs your help. Tell us your reason for taking on 27 27 too. #2727challenge

When is it and how can I sign up?

Sign-up for free, now until 4 March 2023 at

You’ll receive a t-shirt once you receive your first donation on your GivePenny fundraising page.

Why is it important?

Student mental health has never been so important. More and more students are facing mental health problems. Six years ago, research found 27% of students experienced a mental health problem at university. This number has risen, around 35% have a mental health challenge now.

Additionally, in 2019-2020 alone, around 65% of young people with mental health problems still couldn’t access treatment. We’ve come far but we need to do even better.

The money raised through the 27 27 challenge will help Mind to continue to campaign for better rights and support for these students, and to provide services like Mind Infoline, a legal line, and an online peer support community, Side by Side. For example:

  • £10 - could help us answer another enquiry on our Infoline.
  • £32 could help us keep Side by Side open for 1 hour. Side by Side is Mind’s online community where anyone can join, talk and find support. 24/7.
  • £200 could help pay for a lived experience consultant to shape our work. Having people with lived experience of a mental health problem work with us is crucial. It means our work stays relevant for anyone with a mental health problem.

We’ve already raised over £1 million since 27 27 started and last year, 27 27 challenge supporters raised £200,000 to support mental health. This year we want you to help us go even further. With you on our side, running and raising money, we can help even more students struggling with their mental health.

Kelsey’s story as a student living with anxiety and depression:
Kelsey, 21, is in her second year at De Montfort University studying Law, Human Rights and Social Justice. She is taking part in 27 27 and has experience with anxiety and depression.

Kelsey says: “My anxiety started at age 13. I would have panic attacks, but I didn’t know what they were and my depression started in sixth form at age 16. My sister had really bad mental health problems which exasperated mine. With the anxiety, I get quite bad panic attacks. It presents as health anxiety – I get anxious looking online at health-related stuff, even scrolling through TikTok. If I see something about a stroke, for example, l can start feeling psychosomatic symptoms. With the depression, I feel really lethargic and it feels like I’m glued to my bed. Because mental health services became way more stretched during the lockdowns, I’ve been on a waiting list for therapy for two years. They told me it’s unlikely I’ll get help before I graduate. It’s so much harder to get help than it’s ever been.”

Kelsey is taking part in 27 27 for the first time in honour of her sister. “My sister passed away from suicide in 2021 so I want to spread as much awareness as I can. As a university student, knowing how hard it is to get help, I think it’s important now more than ever to be open about it”.

Ian O’Reilly, Head of Community & Events Fundraising at Mind, says: “By taking part in 27 27, you’re sending a message. You’re telling the world we won’t give up until everyone with a mental health problem gets support and respect. 27 27 is free to sign up to and you can decide how you want to take on the challenge of your 27 days of running – fast or slow, on your own or with friends.

“We know that an increasing number of young people are struggling with their mental health. Yet nearly two-thirds of young people with mental health problems aren’t accessing treatment.

“The money raised will help us to be there for everyone who needs us. It will keep our online community Side by Side open for anyone feeling isolated, support our Infoline, giving someone a voice to talk to when things are too much, and help us to keep pushing people in power to support our needs.”

Notes to editors:

About Mind

  • We’re Mind, the mental health charity. We provide advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. We campaign to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding. We won't give up until everyone experiencing a mental health problem gets both support and respect.
  • Mind has a confidential information and support line, Mind Infoline, available on 0300 123 3393 (lines open 9am - 6pm, Monday – Friday)
  • Our online mental health community Side by Side is a safe space where anyone aged 18 and over with experience of a mental health problem can share their story, connect with others, access Mind’s wider information and resources, and give support in return. Find out more at
  • Mind offers free resources for employers to help improve mental wellbeing. For more information, visit