Mental Health Awareness Week
Monday 10th May 2021 marks the beginning of Mental Health Awareness Week.
Hosted by the Mental Health Foundation, the annual event aims to promote 'good mental health for all'. Each year the campaign centres around a theme. This time, the theme is 'nature' and 'connecting with nature' to improve mental health.
Given the strong links between sport and physical activity and positive mental health, we rounded up some great ways in Northamptonshire to connect with nature, improve mental health and be more active too. Read the article - here. Below, you can read the stories of some inspirational local people, who connect with nature and are active for better mental health.
I started running in January 2019 as part of a personal challenge to complete a year-long run streak. My brother in law Steve had passed away just a few weeks earlier, very unexpectedly the following surgery to remove a brain tumour, and I wanted a positive way to deal with my grief, as well as to fundraise for families with similar experiences to my own. I started with the Couch to 5k app, progressed to 10k, then my first half marathon in September and by the 31st December 2019, I had not only ran almost 800 miles but we had raised over £5500 for The Brain Tumour Charity, all in Steve's memory. Read Catherine's blog
I was originally introduced to outdoor swimming around 7 years ago when I lived in Bristol. It offered me solace and freedom from a stressful job working in Community Mental Health. I would often have sleepless nights worrying about my service users, which resulted in a period of extreme anxiety and I eventually had to leave the job and the area for my own wellbeing.
Since returning here I experienced a catastrophic life event, the death of my firstborn daughter in infancy. I had been searching for an outlet for my grief, trauma and anxiety over time, where I wouldn't be hurried back to normal but rather to process it in my own time. I had not given a thought to returning to swimming, other than deciding on an occasional whim to go to an open water venue. I felt disconnected and fearful. Read Sarah's blog
"Take off your shoes and go and lie down on the bed … Now!
Not something you hear every day, but these were the words a Doctor said to me 8 years ago. I felt fine, yes work was extremely stressful and I wasn't looking after my body and, more importantly, my mind properly.
It was my wife that had booked the appointment and, at a future appointment, the Doctor told me "You need to thank your wife for saving your life!" That at age 54 isn't good to hear.
So I set about becoming healthier by walking more but…I still wasn't addressing the real problem…my mental wellbeing. Matters got progressively worse until one day, in front of a computer screen, my body said enough and shut down my mind. It was scary and I had no idea what was happening. Read Dave's blog.