World Mental Health Day: 5 steps to improving your mental wellbeing

Written by: UPSU

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The 10th of October marks World Mental Health Day. 

The theme for 2023 set by World Foundation of Mental Health is ‘Mental health is a universal human right’.

If you're struggling with your mental wellbeing or are looking for ways to improve your mental health, there are steps that can help get your mental health journey started and help you to maintain your wellbeing that you can incorporate into day-to-day life.... 



1. Be active

Many people find that physical activity can help them improve and maintain good mental health. This doesn't have to mean going to the gym every single day or running marathons; there are lots of different ways you can be active and keep your body moving.

Here are a few ideas for how you can get active today: 

  • Join one of our 50 sports clubs 
  • Go along to one of our Give It A Go activities from just £3
  • Join the SU Gym
  • Check out the Plymouth Active app: book fitness classes and activities, including public and student swimming sessions at the Life Centre
  • Walk to your classes or get off the bus a stop earlier than usual and walk the final part of your journey to university
  • Go for a walk at lunchtime or after your lectures (download the Plymouth Trails app to find great walks in Plymouth)

Read our article: 'Places to go and sights to see in Plymouth' for more suggestions on spots to take a walk and visit in Plymouth.



2. Keep learning 

We're always learning new things – often without realising it. Feeling like you're learning and developing can boost your self-esteem. 

And sometimes, setting goals can help you to feel more productive and more in control of your life. 

What can you learn today? Here are a few ideas: 



3. Give

Evidence has shown that helping others can have a positive impact on your own mental health, so whether it’s reaching out to a friend or house mate who may be struggling, or getting involved in volunteering, take that step and be kind. 

Read our article: Everything you need to know about volunteering whilst at university for more information on how volunteering can support your mental wellbeing and advice on how to get started.



4. Connect

Forming connections with others can help us feel seen and valued for who we are.

Being social can mean different things for different people. You may be someone who prefers being in less crowded situations and in more quiet settlings with one or just a few people, or you could be someone who thrives in bigger crowds and likes to be a 'social butterfly'.

Here are some ways you could make a connection today: 


Join us for ‘speed friending’ on World Mental Health Day!

Our Speed Friending event is a quick fire way to make friends: it's all about meeting new people and finding new connections here at the University of Plymouth.

You'll switch tables every few minutes and interact with a new person each time, getting to know them and seeing if they're a potential friend through a series of questions and prompts we provide. Find someone you click with, and you can take it from there!

Space is limited so please book your tickets in advance. There are two slots available:

3pm - 4pm slot: book your tickets

4pm - 5pm slot: book your tickets



5. Take notice

Reminding yourself to take notice of how of you are feeling and when. This is particularly important if you struggle with your mental health. It is important to understand what triggers your feelings of stress and/or anxiety. This is all part of practicing 'mindfulness'. 

You can read more about mindfulness and ways you can achieve mindfulness in our article: What is mindfulness? Tips, apps, and podcasts.

Here are a few ideas to help you stay mindful of how you are feeling, and how to enjoy the environment around you in the moment.



Mental wellbeing apps: 

There are some great apps that support your wellbeing, some of which offer guided meditation based on the latest scientific research. We have selected some of the best apps that are free or discounted for students.

  • Unmind: Unmind is a mental health platform that empowers you to proactively improve your mental wellbeing. Using scientifically backed assessments, tools and training you can measure and manage your personal mental health needs, including digital programmes designed to help with stress, sleep, coping, connection, fulfilment and nutrition. Unmind is free for students for 12 months via UniDays.
  • Balance app: This award-winning meditation app is great for individuals who want to focus on their sleeping habits, reduce stress, and achieve more with balance. Free for your first year when you download the app.
  • Headspace: Headspace is a 'science-backed app' for mindfulness and meditation, providing unique tools and resources to help reduce stress, build resilience, and aid better sleep. They offer limited free features for you to try. As a student, you can get Headspace for just £7.99 a year.
  • Forest app: Forest is an app that helps you to stay focused. How does it work? When you need to stay focused, plant a free. Your tree will grow while you focus on your work. Leaving the app half way through will mean your tree will die. Stay focused daily and turn hard work into a land of lush forest!



We understand that university life can be highly stressful and that every student will have their own unique experience and cope in different ways. As your Students’ Union, we are here to support your wellbeing and provide you with practical advice when it comes to taking care of your mental health, as well as signpost you to support services provided by us, the University of Plymouth and externally if you need it. 

Find out more about the support we can offer with SU Advice. 

You may also find the following articles helpful when it comes to looking after your mental wellbeing at university: 


Finding support on campus:

Advice for looking after your mental health: 

Tips for making friends: 

Worried about a friend, housemate, or fellow student? 



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