Today (Monday 10th May) kicks off the start of Mental Health Awareness Week 2021 with the annual theme ‘Nature’. Following the commencement of the first Coronavirus-response lockdown over a year ago, reports have shown that nature has become an increasingly important aspect of people’s mental health coping strategies.
Mental Health Awareness Week is an annual event that presents “an opportunity for the whole of the UK to focus on achieving good mental health.” The event was started 21 years ago by Mental Health Foundation, which continues to set the annual theme and organise and host the week.
Mental health awareness has grown significantly since the launch of the event in 2000, however, there is still a long way to go – with the chaos and difficulty of the past year accentuating that fact. In this time, many of us will have realised our deep connection to nature and how this can play an important role in our mental health.
Mental Health and the Importance of Nature
Research by the Mental Health Foundation showed that going for walks outside was one of the most important coping strategies for many people throughout lockdown. Further, a significant 45% of us reported that being in green spaces had been vital for our mental health and footage showed that wildlife activity increased by 2000%.
The power of our connection with nature has been well established for decades with a study from the US in the 1960s showing that hospital patients with a view of nature recovered faster than those without. Despite these findings – along with a variety of others – data shows that nature remains one of the greatest untapped resources for mental wellness.
According to the Mental Health Foundation, around 13% of UK households have no access to a garden. Reports also show that teenagers are becoming increasingly disconnected from nature – a worrying factor when considering that half of all mental health problems manifest by the age of 14, with 75% by age 24.
Mental Health Awareness Week Activities
On theme for this year, the Mental Health Foundation is aiming to inspire as many individuals, families, and businesses to connect with nature in new and meaningful ways to help improve their mental health and to convince decision-makers at all levels that “access to and quality of nature is a mental health and social justice issue as well as an environmental one.”
Getting involved with Mental Health Awareness Week can be as easy as taking the time to experience and connect with nature during the week. For more information on how you can get involved, head over to the Mental Health Foundation website.
Mental Health and the CBD Industry
In recent years, a growing number of people have adopted the use of CBD for mental health conditions including stress, anxiety, and sleep problems. A recent poll found that 42.6% of respondents backed the use of CBD for self-perceived anxiety, followed by 37.5% for stress, 37% for sleep improvement, and 37% for general health and wellbeing.