Monday 10 May 2021: Today marks the launch of Mental Health Awareness Week, the UK’s national week to raise awareness of mental health.  

The week, which is hosted by the Mental Health Foundation, is in its 21st year and runs from 10-16 May.

This year, the theme for the week is ‘Nature’. Across the country, people will be celebrating the mental health benefits of being around nature in their local community in a range of digital and creative ways.

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 and 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.

“During the week, we want to hear millions of people’s stories about how the natural world has supported their mental health.

“We also want to highlight the huge disparities between who is and who isn’t able to access nature. We want the week to explore how everyone across the UK can connect with nature and experience the mental health benefits wherever they live.”

Some of the ways people can participate in Mental Health Awareness Week:

  • During Mental Health Awareness Week, why not try to make a habit each day of connecting with nature in your local area? Stop to listen to the birdsong, smell the freshly cut grass, take care of a house plant, notice any trees, flowers or animals nearby. Take a moment to appreciate these connections.  
  • Share images/videos/or just sound recordings of the nature on your doorstep (and how this made you feel) on social media using #ConnectWithNature and #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek

Use Mental Health Foundation resources in your family, school, workplace and community to join with thousands of people who will be finding new ways to connect with nature in their local environment.

Tuesday 11 May 2021: Today is Eat What You Want Day! 

Studies have found that stress can lead to long-term changes in the brain and make you more prone to mood and anxiety disorders. Most nutritionists agree that giving yourself a break every now and again can actually be good for us.  

So, for one day forget about stressing over your diet and what you should or shouldn’t eat and Eat What You Want! 

There are a number of different ways that you can participate: 

  • Help end weight discrimination, fatphobia, and sizeism. 
  • Understand the inefficacy of commercial diets and learn about the diet industry.  
  • Embrace body diversity and challenge the idea of one ‘right’ body shape. 
  • Compliment colleagues on contributions, achievements, and skills, rather than focusing on appearance.  
  • Eat what you truly want to eat because it tastes good.  
  • Throw away your scales. Don’t judge yourself based on a number. You will be surprised by how liberating this feels.  
  • Be adventurous and cook something that you have always wanted to, but you have never cooked before. 

The key is to eat something what you truly enjoy, so whatever food that is for you, get celebrating! Find out how food can make a difference to your mental health: Food and Mood.

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

About the Mental Health Foundation  

  • Their vision is of good mental health for all.  
  • The Mental Health Foundation works to prevent mental health problems.  
  • They drive change towards a mentally healthy society for all, and support communities, families and individuals to lead mentally healthy lives with a particular focus on those at greatest risk.  
  • The Foundation is the home of Mental Health Awareness Week. 
  • www.mentalhealth.org.uk