Mental Health Awareness Week 2021
Resource Group is celebrating Mental Health Awareness Week which takes place between the 10th – 16th May 2021. The theme this year is nature and how connecting with the natural world can support good mental health. Across the country, people will be celebrating the mental health benefits of being around nature in their local community in a range of digital and creative ways.
‘There is something to be wondered at in all of Nature’ – Aristotle
Mark Rowland Chief Executive of the Mental Health Foundation said: “Mental Health Awareness Week has grown to be one of the biggest awareness weeks in the UK. This year the theme is on nature and its central role for our mental health. Since the beginning of the pandemic, millions of us turned to nature to help us get through lockdowns and our research shows that good mental health depends on us being able to connect with nature in some way and its power in both prevention of and recovery from poor mental health.
“We also want to highlight the huge disparities between who is and who isn’t able to access nature. We want the week to explore how everyone across the UK can connect with nature and experience the mental health benefits wherever they live.”
Nature and our mental health
Nature is so central to our psychological and emotional health, that it’s almost impossible to realise good mental health for all without a greater connection to the natural world. For most of human history, we lived as part of nature. It is only in the last five generations that so many of us have lived and worked in a context that is largely separated from nature. And it is only since a 1960s study in the US found that patients who were treated in hospitals with a view of nature recovered faster, that science has started to unpack the extraordinary health benefits.
During Mental Health Awareness Week 2021, the Mental Health Foundation will be sharing evidence that demonstrates the powerful benefits of nature for our mental health including nature’s unique ability to not only bring consolation in times of stress, but also increase our creativity, empathy and a sense of wonder. It turns out that it is not just being in nature but how we open ourselves up and interact with nature that counts. Even small contacts with nature can reduce feelings of social isolation and be effective in protecting our mental health, and preventing distress.
Nature is our great untapped resource for a mentally healthy future.
Despite this, many of us are not accessing or benefitting from nature. Teenagers in particular appear to be less connected with nature and around 13% of UK households have no access to a garden. We all need to challenge the disparities in who is and who isn’t able to experience nature. Nature is not a luxury. It is a resource that must be available for everyone to enjoy – as basic as having access to clean water or a safe roof over our heads. Local and national governments need to consider their role in making this a reality for everyone, and the Mental Health Foundation will be talking about how they can do so during the week.
Top tips on connecting with nature to improve your mental health
For many individuals, ‘being in nature’ may not be as easy as it sounds, however the good news is, you don’t have to climb a mountain to feel the benefit – there are lots of simple ways to bring nature into your everyday life. Below are some top tips on how you can build your own connection with nature:
Furthermore, please see below various supporting links and items for further reading:
Support Mental Health Awareness Week by sharing your stories and #ConnectWithNature