It’s Mental Health Awareness Week!
9th October 2017
It’s Mental Health Awareness Week (MHAW) and the Mental Health Foundation (MHF) is reminding Kiwis that Nature is key.
“There are lots of meaningful ways each of us can unlock our wellbeing by spending time with nature every day,” Mental Health Foundation chief executive Shaun Robinson says.
Research shows that nature has positive effects on our wellbeing; it makes us happier, decreases feelings of depression and anxiety, improves concentration, buffers against stress, makes our lives meaningful and reduces health inequalities related to poverty.
To celebrate nature and MHAW, there are hundreds of events happening around New Zealand that will see Kiwis head outside to discover how happiness and wellbeing blooms when we start to connect with the green and blue spaces that surround us every day.
“Connecting to nature doesn’t need to happen in a national park, for some people it can simply mean going for a walk around the block, taking time to look out the window or keeping a photo of a special place on your desk,” Mr Robinson says.
On World Mental Health Day (Tuesday 10 October), the MHF is holding a national MHAW Lockout.
From 12–1pm, Kiwis will down tools and head outside for picnics, walks, beach clean-ups and social sport games.
“The workplace lockout is a great opportunity to plant the seed for staff that their wellbeing is being taken seriously,” says Mr Robinson.
“It’s a win-win for employers and staff; spending quality time with nature will support your staff to feel happier and more productive, and busy, stressful workplaces can lead to reduced productivity, absenteeism and high turnover.”
For some people, connecting to nature during MHAW means taking part in the MHF photo challenge.
“We’ve been blown away by the beautiful stories to emerge about the people, places and small treasures that warm peoples’ hearts. We’re also thrilled to see how many New Zealanders are reconnecting with nature because of the challenge and noticing how much it improves their mental health and sense of wellbeing.”
The MHF acknowledges that mental health has been top of peoples’ minds this year.
“It’s great that New Zealanders are thinking about mental health and calling for change. Awareness is useful but it’s also time for action, and we can start by doing things like connecting to nature to look after our mental health and wellbeing. We all have a role to play and there are little things we can each do to boost our mood.”
For events and activities in your area, visit www.mhaw.nz