Posted on: Monday 10 May 2021
Today, Monday 10 May 2021, marks the launch of Mental Health Awareness Week, the UK’s national week to raise awareness of mental health.
The week, which is hosted by the Mental Health Foundation, is in its 21st year and this year, the theme for the week 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.
In Torfaen, the council is encouraging residents to get involved this Mental Health Awareness week by sharing photos, videos or sound recordings of ‘nature on your doorstep’ and how this makes you feel.
It is hoped that the campaign inspires everyone to connect more with nature on a daily basis and to notice that this connection can have a positive impact on your mental state and wellbeing for the short and long term.
The councils Adult Social Care teams will also be taking part by sharing photos and videos that best depicts how they connect with nature, via the council’s social media pages.
You can get involved by using #ConnectWithNature, #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek #TorfaenView on any social media platform of your choosing.
Councillor David Daniels, Executive Member for Adult Services & Housing said,
"This year, perhaps more than any other, it's important that we recognise Mental Health Awareness Week. After the year we've all had, the importance of maintaining good mental health is clearer than ever. Whether it's going to the gym, investing yourself in a hobby, going for walks in green spaces, or doing a spot of gardening - it's all beneficial towards looking after your well-being.
This past year, I chose to do the latter. As someone who has lived with depression and anxiety for as long as I can remember, I knew that it was important to stay occupied, and it just so happened that our garden was much in need of a bit of TLC.
A year ago, I'd never have imagined that I'd have embraced gardening like I have, but now, I'm out there every day, showing our 4 month-old daughter Alys all the plants as they grow. So, even on your doorstep, or in your house with houseplants, you can reconnect with nature. Go back to basics - it works."
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.
During the week, we want to hear millions of people’s stories about how the natural world has supported their 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.”
Some other ways residents can join in marking Mental Health Awareness Week include:
- Making a habit each day of connecting to the nature in your local area? 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.
- Using Mental Health Foundation resources in your family, school, workplace and community to join with thousands of people who will be finding new ways to connect with nature in their local environment.
- Join a Torfaen Community Walks programme in your area
For more information about this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week visit mentalhealth.org.uk/mhaw or join the conversation on social media using #ConnectWithNature and #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek