Mental Health Awareness Month
Audio reading of the blog post
Supporting staff and students to achieve their full potential since 1968.
Welcome to our weekly CENMAC blog post
Mental Health Awareness Month | by by Wayne McCullough, CENMAC Advisory Teacher.
During the past year we have all faced new challenges and had to learn new learn ways of living and working, and for some of us this has had an impact on our mental health. Now more than ever we need to highlight how we can support our physical and mental health to maintain a healthy lifestyle and what support is available when we need it.
If you love using technology and want to explore your local area you can always try Geocaching. Geocaching is digital treasure hunting
This May, Mental Health Awareness took place from 10 to 16 May and this year’s theme is ‘Nature’. This is really fitting, as for most of us we have been unable to visit friends and family and the places we love. We have spent more time indoors and have been unable to spend as much time exercising in local parks, going on walks or even sitting on a sandy beach, listening to the sound of the waves crashing against the shore.
There is clear evidence that having access to nature helps to support our mental health and as lockdown restrictions begin to ease, we can visit the places we love once again. We do not always have to visit somewhere special to enjoy nature, there are some simple things we can do at home to enjoy nature.
- Growing your own vegetables – You can grow your own vegetables and flowers using a windowsill in your home, now is the perfect time to begin sowing seeds.
- Bringing nature inside – You can bring nature inside your home, by buying plants and flowers, taking photos of your favourite animals or places and printing these out.
- Outdoor activities – Enjoying a walk around your local park, visiting a nature reserve, or even looking up at the sky and star gazing at night can all help us to relax and connect with nature. Even enjoying a picnic in the garden or local park is a simple and easy way to get closer to nature.
If you love using technology and want to explore your local area you can always try Geocaching. Geocaching is digital treasure hunting; using a mobile phone or tablet with an internet connection, you can search for hidden items in outdoor locations. For more information on Geocaching, please visit – www.geocaching.com/play. Always remember to leave what you find or leave something, so others can find them.
Connecting to nature really helps us to relax, reduce any stress and helps us to be present in the moment, so why not try one of the activities above to see if it helps to increase your mood and add a plant to your room or office to help reduce stress? I have recently added a few cactuses to my office and the collection is growing.
You can support and raise awareness of Mental Health by wearing a green ribbon, or by signing up to the ‘Take Action, Get Active’ challenge. Taking part in daily exercise for 30 minutes – you can run, walk, jog or skip, dance or do whatever exercise you would like – will help to raise awareness about, and funds for, Mental Health.
Why not follow the Mental Health Foundation on Twitter for more information @mentalhealth and help to spread awareness!
By spending quality time in nature, it can help to reduce stress, help us to relax and make us feel more positive. The most important thing is to really connect with nature – from noticing new flowers growing in your garden to birds singing and remember to reach out to someone when you need to talk. If you feel you need to speak to someone, there are a number of services available to help – please visit www.mentalhealth.org.uk/your-mental-health/getting-help for more information.
If you are a school, you can register a free school park by visiting –www.mentalhealth.org.uk/campaigns/mental-health-awareness-week/school-pack which discusses the importance of why connecting with nature is good for our mental health and wellbeing, as well as giving top tips on how to connect with nature in a meaningful way, together with useful resources.