Mental Health Awareness Week: the benefits of nature on mental health and wellbeing

Mental Health Awareness Week 2021

Today (Monday), marks the launch of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week, dedicated to raising awareness of mental health in the UK.

Now in its 21st year, the campaign run by the Mental Health Foundation runs from 10 – 16 May and this year’s theme is ‘nature’ and the benefits it can have to improve mental health and wellbeing.

Mind BLMK are asking supporters to share photos, videos and sounds of their experiences of being in and around nature and green spaces by tagging #ConnectWithNature, #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek and @mindBLMK on social media.

“Try to make a habit each day of the week, to connect with the nature in your local area,” said a spokesperson for Mind BLMK.

“Stop to listen to the birdsong, smell the freshly cut grass, take care of a house plant, notice any trees, flowers or animals nearby. Take a moment to appreciate these connections.”

Caroline Lewis, Chief Executive Officer of Mind BLMK, said: “Connecting with nature is an essential part of maintaining positive mental health and well-being.

“When we’re in nature, it can help to keep us grounded and present. It allows you to step away from your daily worries or stresses and help to improve your mood. There isn’t any right or wrong way to connect with nature, it is something that should feel right for you.”

Bedford Park, Bedford
Bedford Park, Bedford

Mark Rowland, Chief Executive of the Mental Health Foundation explains how nature has played a crucial role in maintaining positive mental health and wellbeing over the past year.

“Our research on the mental health impacts of the pandemic showed that going for walks outside was one of our top coping strategies and 45% of people reported that being in green space had been vital to their mental health,” he said.

“It was as if we were re-discovering at our most fragile point our fundamental human need to connect with nature.”
In order to represent the invisible burden that people with mental health difficulties carry every day, Mind BLMK’s are asking residents to take part in their Carry the Burden campaign. Select an item of your choosing that is connected to nature, this could be a plant, watering can or flower and carry it for a full 24hrs.

For more information about Carry the Burden and how you can support Mind BLMK across Mental Health Awareness week, please visit their website.

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