DORSET Council is encouraging residents to connect with nature for Mental Health Awareness Week.
Today (Monday) marks the launch of Mental Health Awareness Week, the UK’s national week to raise awareness of mental health.
This year the theme is nature and the powerful benefits it can have on our mental health.
Research from the Mental Health Foundation shows how many of us have turned to nature as a coping mechanism during the coronavirus pandemic. During lockdowns people have taken more notice of nature and spent more time in it.
Connect with nature in Dorset
Dorset Council will be joining in the campaign with the aim of inspiring residents and employees to prioritise their mental health and take time to notice and connect with the natural world around them.
The council will be taking to its social media channels to celebrate Dorset’s natural environment, showcase how Dorset Council helps people to connect with nature, and encourage followers to share their photos, videos and even sound recordings of nature here in Dorset.
You can join in the conversation on social media by searching #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek and #ConnectWithNature
The council will also signpost people to the mental health support on offer from partner agencies and local organisations, including Dorset Healthcare, Public Health Dorset, Dorset Mind and the Dorset Mental Health Forum.
Cllr Ray Bryan, portfolio holder for Highways, Travel and Environment, said: “I’m delighted that nature is the theme of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week – we’re lucky to have an abundance of nature on our doorsteps right here in Dorset.
“More than 40 percent of our county is designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and our Jurassic coastline is home to England’s only natural World Heritage Site.
“From stunning countryside, beautiful beaches and an array of country parks, our unique county offers so many opportunities to calm the mind and help us feel more at ease.”
Cllr Laura Miller, Dorset Council portfolio holder for Adult Social Care and Health, added: “The coronavirus pandemic and the changes we have had to make to the way we live our lives have placed enormous pressure on us all and for many of us this will have taken a toll on our mental health.
“Enjoying nature is a brilliant way to try to recover and recuperate from the shock of what we have been through and now, as spring gets into full flow, is a wonderful time of year for people to notice and connect with the natural world.
“For anyone really struggling with their mental health however, there are support services you can access here in Dorset to help you get through the difficulties you are experiencing.
“If you or someone you know needs help, call Dorset Healthcare’s 24/7 Connection helpline on 0800 652 0190 and talk to someone who can help you find the support you need.”
Get help with your mental health
Dorset residents or people visiting the area who need urgent mental health support can call Connectiona 24/7 helpline provided by Dorset Healthcare on 0800 652 0190. Connection can also be accessed by calling NHS 111.
Public Health Dorset also signpost to the range of local and national mental health support services available to people of all ages and walks of life, including suicide prevention and bereavement support.
The Dorset Mental Health Forum charity aims to help mental wellbeing and recovery, signposting to information and resources as well as a comprehensive list of local mental health services available in Dorset.