The theme for this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week is “Nature”.
We love a theme, something to hang your hat on, create stories around, give attention to and, in this case, shape awareness of. This particular theme offers many opportunities for us all to connect to, no matter our circumstances, environment or interest. For some a connection to nature is a core part of who they are, for others its an incidental place of their existence; what we cannot deny is the strong impact nature has on us and our mental health, whether we are conscious of it or not. And for many of us that has felt particularly important over the last year. When some of our usual strategies for wellbeing have become more difficult we can at least still take a walk around the block or, if we are isolating, breathe in fresh air through a window, watch the sky or the stars, keep our potted cactus thriving, or watch nature programmes on the TV (yes, even that makes a difference according to research).
There is plenty of research to back up the link between nature and wellbeing; the Mental Health Foundation outline this well. We would also recommend reading this Thriving with Nature guide as it has some great reflections, plus suggestions of activities and a comprehensive reference list if you want to dive into the evidence base a little more.
Throughout this week we will be exploring different aspects of nature and wellbeing, and signposting you to further resources, reading or ideas. We also have some wonderful creative activities. Share your ideas and tips too – comment below, or join in the conversation on Twitter and Instagram: @CCCU_SD @CCCUStudents @CanterburyCCUni