Mental Health Awareness Week, hosted by the Mental Health Foundation, this year is 10-16th May. Its aim is to get people to start talking about mental health and issues encountered in our daily lives which can impact on us.
This year the theme is connecting with nature. Studies have proven that connecting with nature to no matter what degree, has beneficial consequences to our mental health and wellbeing.
Not everyone has access to open spaces or countryside, but little connections within towns and cities can also have enormous benefits. Connecting with nature whether it be birdsong, insects, plants, or even urban foxes can increase our sense of well being and improve our mental health. A short stroll taking in our surroundings using the senses; smelling cut grass, listening to the birds, watching the lambs or taking in the view all contribute to an increased sense of wellbeing.
The rule of six is still in place for meeting outdoors, so what a fabulous opportunity to meet with family or friends and appreciate the nature around us. The week is not only about connecting with nature but encouraging us to talk about our mental health issues. With lockdown measures starting to lift and society starting to meet up again, understandably many will have anxiety issues around this increased social interaction. So too will others feel a sense of relief at emerging into the big wide world once more. It is a time of mixed feelings and emotions; not everyone feels the same, but we are all having to face a new way of doing things. Having conversations and discussing our thoughts and fears with family and friends can help our perspective and alleviate our fears.
So, if you are able to, pop out for a stroll and engage with nature; if that’s not possible why not grow some flowers and watch the bees and butterflies from the comfort of your own home.
The following is taken from the Mental Health Foundation. Their website provides a wealth of information and will endeavour to answer any questions you may have.
During Mental Health Awareness Week, we are asking you to do three things:
- Experience nature: take time to recognise and grow your connection with nature during the week. Take a moment to notice and celebrate nature in your daily life. You might be surprised by what you notice!
- Share nature: Take a photo, video or sound recording and share the connections you’ve made during the week, to inspire others. Join the discussion on how you’re connecting with nature by using the hashtags #ConnectWithNature #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek
- Talk about nature: use our tips, school packs, research and policy guides to discuss in your family, school, workplace and community how you can help encourage people to find new ways to connect with nature in your local environment.
For more information about this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week visit mentalhealth.org.uk/mhaw or join the conversation on social media using #ConnectWithNature and #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek .
For further information on Mental Health Awareness why not take our half day course? You will explore the symptoms of some mental health issues and how you can either help yourself or support others who may be struggling. We also offer the L2 Understanding Mental Health in the Workplace and L3 Mental Health First Aid in the Workplace.