Mental Health Awareness Week (10th – 16th May 2021) is hosted by the Mental Health Foundation. It’s the UK’s national week to raise awareness of mental health and inspire actions to promote good mental health for all. This year’s theme is nature.
The evidence is clear that access to nature is crucial for our mental health, and millions of people discovered that during lockdowns in 2020. However, this was not the same for all of us. MHAW 2021 will explore what the barriers to accessing nature are and ensure that everyone is able to share in the natural world and experience its mental health benefits.
How can I get involved in Mental Health Awareness Week in B&NES?
Bath and North East Somerset Council is celebrating Mental Health Awareness Week by sharing local stories and projects on social media throughout the week and inspiring more people to connect with nature in a range of creative and digital ways.
You can join in the week by:
- Experiencing nature – take a moment and notice the nature around you from smelling freshly cut grass, take care of a house plant, notice any trees, flowers, or animals whilst out and about or at home. Sign up to one of the activities below.
- Sharing nature – take a photo, video or sound recording and it with others using the hashtags #ConnectWithNature and #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek. Why not take a look at one of the real-life stories below.
- Talking about nature – using tips and resources to talk about nature to family, friends, neighbours, colleagues, and your community.
Real – Life Stories
Here a few people’s stories about how being nature can improve mental health and wellbeing:
- Rebecca’s story – How nature has helped me with my mental health recovery?
- We Hear You We Outdoors Service Real Life Stories
- Avon Wildlife Trust My Wild Life Blogs
- Julia Bradbury – Thriving with nature blog
- Milly’ Garden Project
“I made this mandala from an old hula-hoop, a large ball of sisal garden twine and a big 12mm crochet hook. About this time last year when we were getting used to lockdown, I’d take myself out to the garden for half an hour before work or at lunchtime and add a bit to the mandala. It was like a meditation in the sunshine, listening to the birds and watching all the creatures around me while I worked. Very relaxing and peaceful and I ended up with a lovely piece of garden décor that has made a lot of people smile.
It looks complicated but it’s actually just three simple crochet stitches. There was no pattern, I made it up as I went along. Starting from the outside edge and working into the middle with a slightly different pattern of stitches in each round. That was also quite meditative and mindful as it helped me focus on getting literally and metaphorically ‘centred’ while being ‘grounded’ with my bare feet in the grass as I crocheted.”
- The Community Farm Grow and Testimonials
I have constant physical pain and often live consumed by my thoughts. Grow and Make at The Community Farm has helped me access my feelings and learn to accept them whatever they are. The fabulous scenery has also helped me feel connected to something larger than myself and has made me feel at one with nature.
I especially enjoy mornings spent foraging, planting seeds, harvesting in the polytunnels and weeding in the flower gardens, as these activities allow me to feel totally connected to the elements and environment around me, whilst the daily check-in gives me the opportunity to be open about how I am feeling.
Grow and Make Participant
Immersion in nature by growing, sowing and nurturing plants at Grow and Make, at The Community Farm each week, has helped me value and prioritise doing things that bring me joy as well as giving me more confidence in my practical skills - my allotment has never looked so good! Being out in nature has made me rediscover the benefits of using activity to calm the mind, learn to accept mistakes and really enjoy the process of growing both plants and within myself.
Grow and Make Participant
There are various face to face and online events happening during the week:
- Green Links Community Allotment12:30 – 3:30pm
- EcoWild Lakeside Wellbeing - 10am – 12pm and 1pm – 3pm
- EcoWild Peer-led Lakeside Wellbeing – 10am – 3pm
- Creativity Works Writing Outside the Walls – Four Week Course - 2pm – 4pm
- Creativity Works Keynsham Snap and Stroll, 10am – 12 noon
- Creativity Works Snap and Stay, 1pm – 3pm
- Bath Mind Mental Health First Aid Aware Training Session – 9:30am – 2pm
- Green Links Community Allotment, 10am – 1pm.
- EcoWild Natures Respite, 10am – 12pm and 12:45pm – 2:45pm
- Eating for Good Mental Health and Wellbeing, 10am – 1pm
- Gardening for wildlife at Sydney Gardens – 2pm – 4pm
- Green Links Community Allotment, 12:30pm – 3:30pm
- Green Links Community Allotment, 11am – 2pm
- Online Connect 5 Session 1 Mental Health & Wellbeing Conversations – 1pm -4pm
- Creativity Works Intention Sticks at Sydney Gardens – 2pm – 4pm
- Mindfulness session with Huw Griffiths at Sydney Gardens, Bath – 6pm – 7pm
- Wheels for All Bath and West Saturday Club12pm – 1:30pm
- University of Bath are running student wellbeing activities such as campus walks, outdoor workouts and virtual events during the week. Find out on Eventbrite or via the link above.
Bath Spa University are running an outdoor play session with the Bath Spa Dogs and much more. Keep on Twitter to find out more.
Many schools, community groups and organisations across B&NES will be taking part in their own way. Remember small things can make a big impact when it comes to mental health
For more information on Mental Health Awareness week, visit Mental Health Foundation.