Caitlin Takes on the Great York Walk!

A project by: Caitlin McDowell



from 12 donors

Sponsor me to walk a marathon to help transform the state of mental health in York and beyond!

I need your help! 


I'm raising money to support the Mentally Fit York Fund, by embarking on a 40km walk (in one day??? *gulp* ) walk around York on Saturday, 12th October 2019

Who are you?

My name is Caitlin, and I am a recent York English and Related Literature graduate and current graduate intern at the University.

Why Mental Health? 

Mental Health does not discriminate between individuals, nor in terms of the way it can affect an individual's life - something which is often intensified by university settings, be it exams, being away from family for the first time, approaching final year projects or struggling to cope with issues at home. The Guardian reported earlier this year that almost 9 out of 10 students struggle with anxiety while at university, nearly 50% have had thoughts of self-harm and 1 out of 3 students have experienced such severe psychological distress that they felt the need to seek professional help amid the pressures of intense studying. 

During my final year at York, familial circumstances mixed with final year deadlines made my last few months of study very intense, and mentally difficult - and until very recently - mostly secret. Mental health is a very difficult topic to broach, and, due to the fact it doesn't come in a 'one-size-fits-all' diagnosis, can often mean it is easily missed, and easy to cover.

With the support of friends, family and departmental supervisors all asking questions and being open to the answers, mental health can be more easily supported. However, particularly for students who feel far away from home, their support networks or are uncertain in how to share their concerns with close friends, speaking to a trained professional outside of their immediate environment is a much better, and healthier option. The current services provided by the University - and York more widely - were a real blessing when I needed them, but due to the sheer volume of patients versus practitioners, bias surrounding mental counselling, and limitations to their practice, individuals aren't always able to access the help they need, when they need it. 

York has taken great steps with mental health since I started my degree in 2016, but with your funding, we can hopefully carry them another *40km* forward. 

a Mentally fit York

My walk, and the money it raises, will be in aid of the Mentally Fit York Fund, which will promote good mental health both at the university, and across the city of York. The initiatives funded by #TheGreatYorkWalk include projects such as mental health first aid training, as well as research projects looking to further our understanding of mental health issues and the barriers to accessing support services - on campus and beyond. 

Your support may also go towards providing Mental Health Nursing Scholarships, helping to ensure that the NHS is equipped to deal with the increased demand for mental healthcare as we start to become more comfortable in including discussions of mental health when we talk about our health and wellbeing in our communities. (For more information on the project, please see the homepage:

If I hit my target, 10 people will be able to receive mental health first aid training or we'll be able to support a Mental Health Nursing Scholar for about half a term - please donate anything you can to help me make this happen! 

Please help!

If you are able to donate, please do! Whatever amount you can give is a step closer to achieving (and hopefully superseding!) the project's fundraising goal.  

If you are unable to donate, please share this page! (Or walk with me!) The more people who see this page, and the more walkers the project has, the more able we are to donate to and support mental health initiatives in York, and invest in providing better care for one another. 

Caitlin x

Sign up for TGYW! - 

{# #}