Mental Health in Sustainability


Mental Health in Sustainability

“There can be no health without mental health” – Department of Health

It is vital for mental health to be talked about on a national level, and with a clear trend in the opening of mental health discussion, progress is clearly being made.  The increased access to mental health services and support is evidence that there is positive change. One way this can be seen is through social media influencers beginning to speak about mental health more, such as makedaisychains, danaemercer, marie_senechal and selfloveliv.

These influencers, alongside so many others, are opening up discussions on mental health. They celebrate open discussions, and regularly reach out and share their tips and experiences. Previous stigmas around mental health are being challenged by those on social media; another example being Dr Alex George’s #postyourpill campaign, in which people share their mental health experiences and the medication that they’re taking to help.

Especially when navigating a post-pandemic world that increased mental health difficulties greatly, it is important to destigmatize mental health and place an equal emphasis on our mental wellbeing to our physical wellbeing. The Mental Health Foundation states that “the healthier we are mentally, the chances are we will be healthier physically as well.”

Image description: a woman doing yoga in the woods

While conversations are happening and mental health is beginning to be spoken about more, it is still important to check in with yourself and your needs, especially around preparation for end of semester exams and the winter months meaning darker evenings and colder weather. With everything going on mental wellbeing check-ins are so vital!

Boosting the relationship between good mental health and sustainability is also being spoken about more, and a huge focus is on occupying more green spaces through spending more time out within the natural world as it can be extremely refreshing for the mind. This is especially because research such as  The Psychological Benefits of the Colour Green show that green can bring a sense of restoration and serenity. Through developing a strong relationship with green spaces, it can provide a sense of mindfulness and focus.

But there is so much beyond seeking out the colour green and having a sustainable lifestyle to boost both your mental health, because helping anyone (including the planet) will bring you a dopamine boost and this release of chemicals will boost general mood and optimism. That can help you feel good both about yourself and also the impact you are making.

More positive impacts from interacting with nature are:

  • A sense of motivation and energization
  • Reduced stress and cortisol levels
  • Building attention and focus
  • Promoting self-serenity
Image description: woman walking on a path beside trees

Just opening that conversation and checking in with yourself and others is a huge step in boosting wellbeing. So let’s begin those conversations and collectively the relationship between mental health and sustainability can be boosted and grown.

If you don’t know how to get started with interacting with green spaces, we have a number of events on campus that you can get involved with:

By Amber Tydeman: SGO Project Officer #livingwell

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