Children and Young People | News

Walking the walk for children’s mental health

Communities across the UK can get a little fitter in October while raising money to improve the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people.

By Lisa Harewood · September 21, 2021

Maudsley Charity is inviting people to take part in ‘5k in a Day’ – a 5k sponsored walk, run or wheel on or around World Mental Health Day, Sunday 10th October. This year’s theme is “Mental health in an unequal world”.

The fundraiser is designed to be community-based with people taking part in an activity on their own, as a family or joining up with friends, neighbours and colleagues to walk and talk. Walking and other exercise is beneficial not just to physical but mental health.

To take part in the walk, people simply need to join the charity’s ‘5k in a day’ Facebook Group to register. They will receive a free t-shirt and fundraising pack in the post, along with instructions on how to set up their Facebook Donate page to start their fundraising efforts. They can also post photos of their training and share tips with the community of fellow 5kers.

Money raised will go towards the charity’s “Change the Story” campaign to prevent and treat mental health problems in childhood or later life by supporting vital clinical and research work. Half of adult mental health problems begin by the age of 14 and research suggests that the pandemic has resulted in as many as one in four children and young people having mental health problems that significantly impact their everyday life and experience. Even before the pandemic, that figure was as high as one in nine, highlighting the challenges and pressures children face in contemporary Britain.

Rebecca Gray, the charity’s chief executive, said: “This is a chance for a real community celebration. I’m looking forward to taking part to improve my own physical and mental health. And of course, every step we take will support children living with mental health problems. We are working with young people, the NHS and researchers to ‘Change the Story’ on children’s mental health. Joining in the ‘5k in a Day’ is a brilliant way to show support.”

The charity is a leading funder of the new ground-breaking Pears Maudsley Centre for Children and Young People which will open in Denmark Hill in 2023 and will be available through referral to families across the UK. Researchers and clinicians will work alongside each other to transform the way that we treat and prevent mental illness in young people.

Notes to editors: 

  1. The Maudsley Charity works in partnership with South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust and the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King’s College London to promote positive change in the world of mental health. We support innovation, research and service improvement, working with patients and families, clinical care teams, researchers and community organisations with a common goal of improving mental health. We are able to support work such as Change the Story through the use of our historic charitable funds and financial support from donors and foundations who share our ambitions.
  2. World Mental Health Day is an international day for global mental health education, awareness and advocacy against social stigma.
  3. For more information on the 5K walk, please contact Maudsley Charity:   For press enquiries call Richard Morley on 07887 477 841