Connect with nature this Mental Health Awareness Week

Barnsley Council is celebrating Mental Health Awareness Week and encouraging our residents to connect with nature.

Hosted by the Mental Health Foundation, the week will run from Monday 10 May to Sunday 16 May. It looks to raise awareness of mental health and is into its 21st year.

This year's theme is nature and how connecting with the natural world can support good mental health.

In our latest Director of Public Health report for 2020, residents revealed how important being active and enjoying local green spaces has been in keeping their spirits up during the pandemic.

Councillor Jim Andrews, Cabinet Spokesperson for Public Health, said: "It has been a tough year for everyone with the pandemic, and our mental health has been impacted as we have not been able to spend time with loved ones or friends as much as we would have liked.

"I know many of us will have taken the opportunity to explore our beautiful borough over the past 12 months. Spending time outside and being amongst nature, like going for a walk in the local park, can have huge benefits to your mental health by improving your mood and reducing feelings of stress or anger. It also helps us to be more physically active.

"We have plenty of support available for people who are experiencing poor mental health. I would urge our residents to talk about their mental wellbeing to friends and family - it can be as simple as asking 'Alright pal?'."

Mark Rowland, Chief Executive of the Mental Health Foundation, said: "Mental Health Awareness Week has grown to be one of the biggest awareness weeks in the UK. This year the theme is on nature and its central role for our mental health.

"Since the beginning of the pandemic, millions of us turned to nature to help us get through lockdowns. Our research shows that good mental health depends on us being able to connect with nature in some way and its power in both prevention of and recovery from poor mental health.”

For more information about this year's Mental Health Awareness Week, visit mentalhealth.org.uk/mhaw or join the conversation on social media using #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek.

To find out more about the mental health support services in the borough, visit barnsley.gov.uk/AlrightPal.

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