What does connecting with nature mean to you?
Mental Health Awareness Week (MHAW) is a nationwide yearly event, created by the Mental Health Foundation 21 years ago, that focuses on achieving good mental health. Each year the Mental Health Foundation set a different theme, connected to improving, and achieving better mental health. This year, the Mental Health Foundation have made 'Nature' the theme. Their aim is to encourage people to share how nature has supported their mental health, especially throughout the past year of lockdowns.
Spending quality time with nature can reduce stress, balance your mood and help you feel more positive. During the pandemic, millions of us have turned to nature. Research conducted by the Mental Health Foundation showed going for walks outside was one of the top coping strategies and 45% of people reported that being in ‘green spaces’ had been vital for better mental health.
Mark Rowland, Chief Executive of the Mental Health Foundation said, "In the first lockdown, I called an elderly friend. She lives alone and had recently had a fall. Separated from her community, she had lost all in-person contact. When I asked her how she had got through it, she told me it was taking daily comfort from watching the birds sing to each other on the fence and the flowers re-emerge from the frosts of winter."
Ways to Get Involved
Getting involved could be something as a simple as tending to a house plant, listening to the birds, touching the bark of trees, smelling flowers or writing a poem about our favourite nature spot. We’ve collated some of our favourite ways to connect with nature for you to try throughout the week (10-16th May).