Nature and our mental health
The mental health of all of us has been in the spotlight during the last year. Whether impacted by concerns for our family, friends or ourselves, the effect on children has been immense. With all the interruptions to education and their social lives, it’s been a worry for many adoptive parents, who may have struggled to help children manage their well-being. Equally, many of us will have turned to nature during the pandemic, with going for walks outside, discovering local places we’d never visited before, and generally being at one with nature for ourselves and our children.
Mental Health Awareness Week
This week – 10-16 May 2021 – we welcome the Mental Health Awareness Week’s theme connection to nature as organised by the Mental Health Foundation (MHF). They tell us,
‘During long months of the pandemic, millions of us turned to nature. Our research on the mental health impacts of the pandemic showed going for walks outside was one of our top coping strategies and 45% of us reported being in green spaces had been vital for our mental health. Websites which showed footage from webcams of wildlife saw hits increase by over 2000%. Wider studies also found that during lock downs, people not only spent more time in nature but were noticing it more.
It was as if we were re-discovering at our most fragile point our fundamental human need to connect with nature….even small contacts with nature can reduce feelings of social isolation and be effective in protecting our mental health, and preventing distress. Nature is our great untapped resource for a mentally healthy future.’
How can we take part?
The Mental Health Foundation want to inspire more people to connect with nature in new ways, noticing the impact that this connection can have on our mental health, and during this special week, there a three things you can do to take part.
- Experience nature: take time to recognise and grow your connection with nature. Take a moment to notice and celebrate nature in your daily life. You might be surprised by what you notice!
- Share nature: take a photo, video or sound recording and share the connections you’ve made during the week to inspire family and friends.
- Follow @mentalhealth on Twitter #ConnectWithNature #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek
If you are worried about your child’s well-being or mental health – help is available. You are not alone, talk to someone: your GP, a specialist or contact your local adoption support team. Sharing a problem is often the first step to recovery.