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My body....An Anchor & Life Jacket (MHAW 2021)

Mental Health Awareness Week - Nature and Mental Health (10-16 May 2021)

During Mental Health Awareness Week, i thought about my body and how it interacts with nature. My body stands as an archive of my experience with natures storms, a library of secrets from trails and tribulation. Start of the week I had a dream within a dream that i was drowning. I woke up and i was still drowning. In the mist of panic i forgot that my body was both an anchor and a life jacket, both my strength and weakness. Yet when it worked with nature and not against it, they balanced in perfect harmony. I realised that nature healed, soothed and restored my body.

“ Nature mends broken hearts, cluttered minds, and troubled souls” - Orphic Flux

Research on mental health in the pandemic shows that going for walks was one of the most popular coping strategies and 45% of people reported that being in green environments enhanced positive mental atitutdes.

Nature is so central to our psychological and emotional health. Nature brings consolation in times of stress, increases our creativity, empathy and sense of wonder.

Even the smallest contact with nature can reduce feelings of social isolation and be effective in protecting your mental health and preventing distress.

“ Nature reveals to us a beautiful part of ourselves we could not find anywhere else” - Kristen Butler.

Find the time to go outside and see, smell and feel nature. A great technique i enjoy and have practiced in therapy with patients is the 5 senses grounding exercise. Give is a try now.....

5- Take 5 deep breaths

4- Look around for 4 things that you can see

3- Name 3 threes you can touch

2- Name 2 things you can hear

1- Name 1 thing you can smell

Sometimes it is hard to access nature or spend time outside, so we encourage you to bring nature to your front door. Become a plant mum/dad, a small pot of herbs is a great way to start. If planting is not your cup of tea then try connect through books, shows, documentaries about nature. My go to would be David Attenborough.

Think about how you can also protect nature. Do your part to take care of the environment by being eco friendly in your actions and choices. This can be as simple as recycling or walking rather than driving to the shops.

How to get involved this week

1. Experience nature - Try to connect with nature and focus on the positive emotions it evokes.

2. Share nature - Take a photo, video or even tik toks and share the connections you’ve made over the week to inspire others. Use the Hashtag 'ConnectWithNature' and 'MentalHealthAwarenessWeek'

3. Talk about nature - Discuss in your communities how you can help encourage people to find new and creative ways to connect with nature in your local areas and how best to protect the environment that you live in.

“Like music and art, love of nature is a common language that can transcend political or social boundaries” - Jimmy Carter

Mental Health charities in the UK that you can support

Mind gives you tailored advice about what support is available to you. A leading UK charity.

Phone number: 0300 123 3393

Opening hours: 9am – 6pm, Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays)

Providing round-the-clock support (literally 24 hours a day, 365 days a year), Samaritans is on a mission to prevent suicide. Helps those experiencing feelings of loneliness and isolation or just need someone to talk to.

Phone number: 116 123

Opening hours: 24 hours a day, 365 days a year

Host of the mental health awareness week, this charity is pivotal as a voice for change. By conducting research and influencing policy, they ensure that improvements are made to how mental health is treated in society.

Run by students who can empathise with the pressure of being a student, this night service lends a listening ear if you’re a student in need.

Phone number: University specific numbers can be found here

Opening hours: Varies depending on the university

This charity is specifically designed to support anyone who may be dealing with an eating disorder. Beat is an essential charity which can help anyone dealing with any type of eating disorder.

Phone number: 0808 801 0677 (adults), 0808 801 0677 (young people)

Opening hours: 12pm – 8pm, Monday to Friday, 4pm – 8pm, weekends and bank holidays

YoungMinds leads the way in supporting young people and those around them with dealing with mental health issues. Their helpline specifically addresses concerned parents.

Phone number: 0808 802 5544

Opening hours: 9:30am – 4pm, Monday to Friday

This charity aims to combat this tragic issue with advice and support for men aged between 15 to 35.

Phone number: 0800 58 58 58 (nationwide), 0808 802 58 58 (London)

Opening hours: 5pm to midnight, 365 days a year

A new helpline was launched by the royals and is a text service which provides 24-hour support for people who are in a crisis situation.

Phone number: 85258

Opening hours: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

Exceptionally innovative and progressive, this charity, which is aimed at under 25s, talks to young people about very real issues that they might be facing.

Phone number: 0808 808 4994

Opening hours: 9:30 am – 5:30 pm, Monday to Friday

A stigmatised and often neglected condition, this charity campaigns for better treatment and can provide specific advice on how to overcome your OCD.

Phone number: 0845 390 6232

Opening hours: 9:30am – 8:00pm, Monday to Friday

Yours Sincerely

Joan Idowu

CEO and Founder of Several Seats

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