It's a commonly cited statistic that 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience mental health difficulties in any given year. However, it is a lesser known fact that this statistic is significantly higher within the student population, with roughly 1 in 3 students reporting psychological distress. Furthermore, over half of students report that their mental health has declined during the coronavirus pandemic, with one study suggesting that as many as 70% of students are concerned about their mental health and wellbeing.
To help raise awareness for this issue, Trent Women’s Rugby are undertaking a brilliant fundraising event for Three Little Birds – a marathon walk. Support them, and us, by clicking here!
Ahead of this amazing effort, we met with Isla and Maddie, two members of the organising committee to talk about the event, as well as all things mental health.
TLB: Thanks for meeting with us today to talk about this exciting fundraising event! Could you please start off by introducing yourselves and letting us know a bit about your role on the committee?
Maddie: So my name is Maddie Richards. I study French at uni and I am the President of TWR – Trent Women’s Rugby Committee.
Isla: I’m Isla Parsons, I do psychology at uni. I also volunteer with Three Little Birds. I’m secretary for the women’s rugby team, so I just help Maddie basically.
TLB: It's great to have you here with us today! Before we get into the details of the event, let's talk mental health. What does mental health mean to you, and would you say that rugby has a positive impact on your mental health and wellbeing?
Isla: Yeah, I’d say so- I mean we all train on a Monday and then we all see each other on Wednesdays – so it’s not just physically good for you, it’s social as well. I’d say us as a committee are very supportive, but so are all the girls on the team. We all feel very strongly about that and want to support people. I think rugby is a great way to do that because everyone can enjoy it and have a bit of fun, but also be active which is really good for your mental health as it is.
Maddie: Yeah definitely, I think it’s a massive stress reliever as well – like if you’ve got so much uni work and you’re getting completely overwhelmed by it, it’s just a really nice way to come together and take your mind off of things, so yeah, I agree.
TLB: For sure, and could you please let us know a bit more about this fundraising event?
Isla: So it’s happening on the 13th of November - so we’re gonna get all of the girls, about 20 of us, and split into two groups. We’ll be doing the same route, but we’re going to be doing it different ways, and we’ll meet halfway, in the middle. So we’ll have walked half a marathon each – an entire marathon collectively, just raising the money for Three Little Birds. There’s going to be a stop-off point in the middle and get like photos and promotions and stuff like that as well.
TLB: What a great idea! What made you think of doing that?
Maddie: Yeah, well we knew that we wanted to do it in support of Three Little Birds and mental health awareness - I think before we were looking at certain stats for mental health and trying to convert it into like, how many miles could we walk… and then we just kind of decided that a marathon in itself was quite a big thing to do, so like, doing it in two groups would be quite nice. A nice thing to do together as well.
TLB: Absolutely - and what made you want to support Three Little Birds?
Isla: I mean obviously I've been volunteering with you guys for a while now, so it's a cause that's close to me.
Maddie: Yeah, and we wanted to do a charity event each term. In the past, we’ve kind of just done one charity event per year, which I think is kind of a shame because we’ve got plenty of time to do a couple more. And we were kind of looking for charities that are close to us. We’ll be hosting a few different charity events for causes that we as a team feel really strongly about and want to raise awareness for. For this one, we thought, Isla knows this charity and is close to it so we’ll do that in term one.
TLB: Fantastic! And Isla - if you don't mind me putting you on the spot, what got you into volunteering with Three Little Birds?
Isla: I just applied for it through a volunteering website, and then that was probably like a year ago. I liked the charity and I think mental health and everything is just something that I feel very strongly about so I just wanted to help. It’s local to here, which is amazing; and it’s growing so it’s a really exciting time to be involved.
TLB: And how can people get involved and support you in this event?
Maddie: So we've got a GoFundMe going so we can raise money for you guys, and we're also going to be promoting it a lot on social media- probably on Instagram mostly. So sharing our posts, or obviously any donations would be really appreciated!
TLB: Well thank you so much for taking the time out to talk to me today, I really appreciate it – and thanks for choosing to fundraise for Three Little Birds as well – it’s amazing and can make a massive difference for us.
Maddie: Of course, it’s such a good cause, so definitely worth it.
Once again, a huge thank you to Maddie and Isla for speaking with us, and to TWR for organising this event!