Mental health awareness week (10th – 16th May 2021)
Mental health awareness week is an annual event that provides an opportunity for the UK to focus on good mental health. It’s about encouraging people to start conversations on what mental health is, why it’s important and how things in our daily lives can affect it. The Mental Health Foundation have chosen nature as the theme for this year’s mental health awareness week, and are asking people to think about connecting with nature to improve our mental health.
Nature has always been central to our physical, psychological and emotional health, but over the last year, it has become more important than ever as people have turned to nature during the pandemic.
Research on the mental health impacts of the pandemic conducted by the Mental Health Foundation showed that going for walks outside was one of the top coping strategies, with 45% of us reporting that being in green spaces had been vital for our mental health during these challenging times.
The benefits of connecting with nature
Connecting with nature can:
Reduce feelings of social isolation;
Lower stress and anxiety;
Lessen the negative brain activity;
Help you to feel more relaxed;
Improve confidence and self-esteem.
Top tips for connecting with nature
Find nature wherever you are – enjoy the natural surroundings in a nearby park, garden, courtyard, woods, countryside etc.
Bring nature to you – have plants around the house, or if you have access to a balcony, garden or allotment think about growing plants, flowers, vegetables, or getting a bird feeder.
Exercise in nature – if you enjoy exercising, why not try and do it outside. You could walk, run, cycle, or hike. You can do this by yourself for a quiet time of self-reflection, or with friends as a fun group activity.
Combine nature and creativity – take part in creative activities outside such as art or music. You can increase your connection to nature by taking photos, writing, drawing, or painting.
Protect nature – taking care of something can help you to feel good. You could recycle, or join a local community conservation or clean-up and do your part to help look after the environment.
How the Bailey Ahmad team have been connecting with nature
(Picture above) Rebecca on a long Sunday walk in the woods in Westerham
(Picture above) Sunrise over Riddlesdown on one of Tony’s morning walks
(Picture above) Sarah’s dog Ruby on one of their lunch time walks
(Picture above) Harrison and his friends crossing the Severn Bridge
Mental health organisations
Find out more about mental health awareness week and the benefits of nature here: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/campaigns/mental-health-awareness-week
If you are struggling with your mental health, reach out to friends and family for support. There are also several organisations that offer help and support. Please find a list below:
Mind Infoline – 0300 123 3393 (9 am – 5 pm, Monday to Friday)
Mind | Mind, the mental health charity – help for mental health problems
Samaritans – 116 123 (24 hours a day)
Samaritans | Every life lost to suicide is a tragedy | Here to listen
Rethink Mental Illness Advice Line – 0300 5000 927 (9.30 am – 4 pm, Monday to Friday)
We are Rethink Mental Illness
Please note that we are not mental health professionals; this blog is for general information and interest only. If you need help and support with your mental health, please contact one of the organisations above.