Mental Health Awareness Week

‘There is something to be wondered at in all of Nature’ – Aristotle

Next week is Mental Health Awareness Week (MHAW) which will run from 10-16 May 2021.  According to the Mental Health Foundation (MHF) (external link) events are taking place nationwide and online. The theme of the week this year is nature. This may come as a surprise to some, but as MHF research shows this theme could not be more appropriate as we are coming out of the third UK lockdown.

According to the research contact with nature was an important aspect of coping with COVID-19 lockdowns and half of UK residents cited nature as the best way to cope with the pandemic.

This year is going to be an important year for reconsidering our relationship to and our treatment of nature. A new (if delayed) Environment Bill (external link) is going through UK Parliament and the UK will host the G7 summit (external link) in June and UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (external link) (COP26) will be hosted in Glasgow in November. 

Why is nature so important to our wellbeing? Well, it seems that observing, touching, listening to or smelling nature does what constitutes the corner stone of mindfulness and that is it allows us to place ourselves in the moment and to ground ourselves. No wonder many of us found contact with nature a useful survival tactic during a time when so little was in our control and we could do nothing but go with the flow of the events. 

Living in an urban space can make us feel like access to nature is very limited if not non-existent. But even if access to nature is totally out of reach there are good online resources that can transport us into the natural world. There are quite a few videos on Youtube and stations such as tree.fm (external link) not only can connect us with nature virtually but also encourage us to get involved in saving the planet as even a subscription to a newsletter promises the planting of a tree.

The nature theme of MHAW is also supposed to highlight the need for more, safer and more accessible green spaces for all as well as greener urban design in the future. In the meantime, there are many green spaces available in Haringey including the Lordship Recreation Ground (external link) 

In order to get us more connected and more appreciative of nature, MHF is also running a nature journal project (external link) where you can write down your own observations on how contact with nature might affect or benefit you.

The Barnet, Edmonton and Haringey Mental Health NHS Trust is also hosting a whole array of events running from 10 to 29 May (external link) to coincide with Mental Health Awareness Week, including nature walks, tree drawing classes, tree planting and online talks. Other local initiatives happening at the same time include the South Tottenham Art Walk (external link) on 15 and 16 May.

There are also other ways of improving mental health this year. For example, you can take up the MHF 30 day outdoor fitness challenge (external link) which will raise awareness of both nature and mental health. It runs in May 2021, but it can be started anytime during the month. 

by Karolina Frackowska 
 

 

Page last updated:

November 30, 2021

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