Organised by the Mental Health Foundation, Mental Health Awareness Week focuses on inspiring the UK to improve mental health. According to the Office for National Statistics, the proportion of adults experiencing depression nearly doubled during the pandemic. As such, this year’s campaign may be of particular importance.
The theme for 2021’s Mental Health Awareness Week is nature. As such, the Mental Health Foundation is encouraging people to take time out of their lives to enjoy the outdoors. There are a number of ways to enjoy nature that may benefit mental health, such as:
Visiting green spaces – Being amongst nature can help you relax. According to research by the Mental Health Foundation, 45% of people said that visiting green spaces had been vital to maintaining their mental health during the pandemic.
Growing and gardening – Planting flowers or vegetables in a garden can help you feel productive, provide aesthetic pleasure to your everyday life and even potentially lead to a healthier diet.
Exercising – Taking a walk or hike through nature can encourage the release of endorphins and result in reduced stress or anxiety. Physical activity may also provide an opportunity for social interaction and could result in better self-esteem.
Bringing it inside – Studies have shown that even looking out of a window or watching footage of nature can boost your mood. During the pandemic, the Mental Health Foundation found that websites with footage of wildlife saw hits increase by over 2,000%.
Mental Health Awareness Week runs from 10-16 May. Visit https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/campaigns/mentalhealth-awareness-week for more information.