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Next week (10-16 May) is Mental Health Awareness Week

This year, the theme for Mental Health Awareness Week is ‘nature’.

The Mental Health Foundation recently carried out some research into the impact of the pandemic on mental health. Results 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’.

You can read more about why nature is this year’s theme on the Mental Health Foundation website here.

Our Support and Wellbeing Facilitator, Barbara Sujecka, said of this year’s theme: “During the difficult months of lockdown, many of us turned to nature; whether by going outside for exercise, tending to our gardens, or just enjoying the changing seasons from our windows. Contact with nature can reduce feelings of isolation and improve our overall feelings of wellbeing, so why not take an extra few minutes next week to appreciate the wonders that are around us!”

What we’ll be doing to mark Mental Health Awareness Week

We’ll be sharing lots of content on our website and social media which promotes the importance of good mental wellbeing and mental health in general.

Look out for some brilliant blogs on our website from people with MS on how they’ve managed their mental health:

  • Our blogger Noor explains how Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) can help with pain and depression.

  • Liz shares a top tip on how the alphabet has helped her anxiety.

  • Our Support and Wellbeing Facilitator, Barbara Sujecka, shares some top tips for emotional wellbeing.

We’ll also be doing a shout out on Instagram for the community’s own tips on supporting mental health.

Reflections from Nick and Ed

We’ve also heard from our CEO, Nick Moberly, and Executive Director for Digital and Services, Ed Holloway, about their own experiences of mental health during the pandemic.

Ed told us: “Last year I was struggling with my own mental health, and, as well as getting the right support, I found that taking the time to get out and about into nature made a world of difference. We spend our lives surrounded by technology, so more than ever it feels important to step away from the screens and spend time outside.”

Nick said: “Like so many people, there have been times when I’ve found lockdown really tough. Some daily exercise has really helped to keep me calm and centred. We live in Fulham, and most days I have found myself walking or running along our local stretch of the River Thames, where the aggressive urbanism of central London gives way to something a little more rural. It’s an endlessly changing landscape, but whatever the weather and time of day it leaves me with a deep sense of peace.”

More information

If you would like some extra information and tips on looking after your mental health, why not take a look at these websites:

Journal of being out in nature and how it makes you feel

Kindness toolkit for home, activities to print off and complete

Looking through other people’s windows to see views from around the world

David Attenborough and Mind - Mental health and nature

Why does nature make you feel better?