An Evaluation of MINDFIT - A Student Therapeutic Running Group as a multi-layered intervention in the United Kingdom

Jan Gurung, James Turner, Elizabeth Freeman, Charlotte Coleman, Susan Iacovou, Steve Hemingway

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Mental health is an ever-increasing concern for UK Universities and underreported. Creative and dynamic approaches to tackle student wellbeing are important. In 2018, Sheffield Hallam University (SHU) Student Wellbeing Service initiated a pilot study of a therapeutic running programme ‘MINDFIT’ that combined physical activity, led by a counsellor, alongside a psychoeducation approach to support student mental health. Methods; Mixed Methods, a quantitative approach for pre and post data collection, including the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ 9), evaluating low mood and depression and Generalized Anxiety Disorder Scale-7 (GAD 7) evaluating levels of anxiety. Results: 28 students were triaged onto a weekly programme over 3 semesters. 86% of the participants completed the programme. A promising reduction in scores at the end of the programme was found PHQ 9 and GAD 7. Three focus groups, with student participants and staff facilitators, were undertaken to gather qualitative data for analysis. After thematic analysis three main themes emerged: “Creating a safe community”, “Making progress” and “Pathways to success”. Conclusions MINDFIT was an effective and engaging multi-layered therapeutic approach. Recommendations identified the importance and effectiveness of the tri-age process in recruiting students and sustainability of the programme through the continued engagement of students post programme. More research is required to identify long term effects of the MINDFIT approach and how applicable it is to higher education contexts
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)456-469
Number of pages14
JournalNursing Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 13 Mar 2023


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