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It’s Mental Health Awareness Week (Monday 10th May – Sunday 16th May) and the theme this year is connecting with nature.

Getting outside to walk, grow your own produce, or just taking 5 minutes by yourself to sit and take in your surroundings, is great for your mental health and wellbeing. Our Head of Education, Ezra Hewing explains why nature can help.

Suffolk Mind data shows the number of local people at risk of stress and mental ill health has more than doubled since before the coronavirus pandemic, so it is more important than ever to raise awareness of mental health.

More than half of us (55%) are not, on average, meeting our emotional needs – the key to avoiding stress and maintaining good mental health. This is up from 26% before the pandemic.

During the pandemic, millions of us turned to nature. Research from the Mental Health Foundation showed that 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. 

Below, we’ve put together some helpful ways you can connect with nature during this Mental Health Awareness Week and beyond. 

Grow your own

Bring nature inside by growing some great produce on your windowsill. Growing your own gives you a great sense of achievement. It’s such a great feeling to see your herbs and flowers growing from the small seeds you planted.

Our GreenCare Manager Sarah Manton-Roseblade gives you this growing advice.

Join our 100 Miles for Suffolk Mind challenge

Spring into action and join our 100 Miles for Suffolk Mind challenge. Why not look out for all the budding flowers and changes in trees whilst you’re out in your trainers, on your bikes or skates?

Getting active outside is a great way to connect with nature and look after your mental health and wellbeing. Moving also burns off stress hormones and creates feel-good chemicals.

You can cover 100 miles however you like, whenever you like.

Sign up to take on 100 Miles for Suffolk Mind here



Invite the birds to your garden 

Who loves watching the birds visit their garden? It’s great to take 5 minutes to yourself to reflect and relax whilst watching the birds. To encourage more to come to your garden, follow our guide below to make your own bird food.

Join one of our GreenCare allotment groups

Our GreenCare allotment groups are excited to be back during Mental Health Awareness Week this week, after pausing in December due to Covid-19 restrictions.

We have allotments in Haverhill, Hadleigh Bury St Edmunds and Ipswich which offer people the opportunity to learn about gardening and contribute to the creation of a thriving growing space that benefits everyone. People can also make new friends and get support from other group members.

This service is a great way to connect with nature and others.

Click here for more details about our GreenCare groups. 

Please note, this following video was filmed prior to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Join our family nature trail

Why not get your whole family connecting with nature this Mental Health Awareness Week? We have put together a fun nature trail for everyone to get involved in. What will you see when you’re out and about on your walks?

Download our family nature trail here

Create a bug hotel

Why not encourage more wildlife into your gardens by creating a bug hotel? It will give you a great sense of achievement when you find lots of bugs staying in your build. Follow our guide below on how you can build one.

Get moving outside

We’d love to get you moving during Mental Health Awareness Week to release those feel-good chemicals and burn off those stress hormones. Join our Children and Young People’s Coordinator and Sammy the Sea Squirt, our children’s book character, for an al fresco movement session.

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