Organised by the Mental Health Foundation, Mental Health Awareness Week is taking place from 10 to 16 May.
Founded in 1949, the Mental Health Foundation is the UK’s leading charity for mental health.
Throughout the pandemic, millions of people across the UK have experienced a mental health problem. This week helps us to understand more about mental health, how it affects us, the different conditions and support available.
This year’s focus is on nature, as many of us have found the outdoors to be helpful in improving our wellbeing during the pandemic.
Over the past year, we’ve seen an increase in people gardening, going on walks and exploring the outdoors – all of which have been essential for our mental health.
Research from the Mental Health Foundation revealed that going for walks outside was one of our top coping strategies, with 45% of us reporting how being in green spaces had been vital for our mental health.
During lockdowns, people have not only spent more time in nature, but have learnt to appreciate and notice it more; highlighting a fundamental need to connect with our outdoor environment.
Bringing nature into your everyday life can have positive effects on your wellbeing. It can:
- Enhance your mood
- Reduce feelings of stress and anger
- Help you take a break and feel relaxed
- Improve your physical health
- Build your confidence
- Encourage you to be more active
- Helps you make new connections
Support the Mental Health Foundation by taking part in half an hour of outdoor exercise each day in May. This can include anything from walking, running, jogging and skipping – and remember to appreciate the nature surrounding you.
You are also encouraged to share your experiences by taking a photo or video and joining the discussion on how you’re connecting with nature by using the hashtags #ConnectWithNature #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek.
You can also follow these useful 5 Steps to Wellbeing from Mind.
At Harrogate College, we’ll also be celebrating Mental Health Awareness Week through our Harrogate College Caring Carnival.
On Monday 10 and Wednesday 12 May, we will be hosting a range of games, competitions and prizes to raise money for Harrogate Mind.
You can get involved by meeting outside the college from 9am to 4pm on Monday and Wednesday. More information will also be available on the Student Life Google Classroom here. If you have any questions, please ask your Student Relations Officer, Megan Hawkswell or Dan Fabretti, your Student Representative.
We are also hosting a ‘Get into Nature’ photography competition, encouraging you to get into the outdoors and take photos of your surroundings. The deadline is 28 May, so make sure to send your submissions to Megan Hawkswell on Google Hangouts for your chance to win. The winners will be featured on the Student Union page.