How do you feel today? Happy, sad, confused, calm, stressed, optimistic?
The World Health Organisation recognises World Mental Health Day on 10 October every year. The day provides an opportunity "for all stakeholders working on mental health issues to talk about their work, and what more needs to be done to make mental health care a reality for people worldwide". This year's theme set by the World Federation for Mental Health is young people and mental health in a changing world.
Everyone is aware of how challenging the teenage and early adult years can be as many life changes take place, leaving school going to uni, job searching, starting work, moving away from family for the first time. It's an exciting time for most but can also be hugely worrying and the accompanying stress and apprehension, if not recognised and managed, have the potential lead to mental illness, a large and growing challenge in the UK.
1 in 4
Today in the UK, 1 in 4 people experience a ‘significant’ mental health problem in any one year, with 1 in 10 of school aged children suffering from a diagnosable mental health disorder - that is around three children in every school class. The annual total cost of mental illness is currently estimated to be £105 billion (The Centre for Mental Health, 2010).
A green prescription
Studies show that simply spending time in or being active in natural environments is associated with positive outcomes for attention, anger, fatigue and sadness, higher levels of positive affect and lower levels of negative affect (mood/emotion) and physiological stress. So begins an article from the Outdoor Recreation Network titled: Nature–based interventions for mental health and well being
However, research from Natural England published last month shows that more people than ever before are visiting and spending time in the natural environment. The proportion of adults visiting nature at least once a week has increased from 54 per cent in 2010 to 62 per cent in 2018, read on. Access the reports and stats: Monitor of Engagement with the Natural Environment: Headline reports and technical reports 2016-2017 to 2017-2018
The effect of time in the natural environment is to be explored as part of new research being led by UK Research & Innovation who have announced eight new Mental Health Networks bringing together researchers from across multiple organisations and disciplines to address important mental health questions. Two of the networks will include research into how access to the natural environment can impact mental health. The projects are funded for up to four years. Find out more.
It's okay not to be okay.
If you need help, or want to know how to help people in need visit the Mental Health Foundation's website which is full of information, contact details and links all dedicated to finding and addressing the sources of mental health problems.