Mental Health Awareness Week

Mon 10 May 2021

10-16 May is Mental Health Awareness Week and this year's theme is Nature. Throughout the various different phases of lockdown, many of us have been taking walks, gardening, wild swimming, biking and spending time in nature to support our mental health. This week is a time to share how nature has supported your wellbeing and find out how others have benefited from time spent in the great outdoors. (Find out more about how to get involved from The Mental Health Foundation).

Over the past month, the Befriending Networks Team has been sharing picture of our walks on our 'Teams' channel, helping us stay connected while we continue to work from home. From these conversations, it's become clear that taking walks is a great way to start the day or take a much needed screen break, can be a creative outlet for photography, is a fantastic source of exercise and enables us to notice seasonal changes from that unexpected late snow to blooming spring flowers. 

While it is important that all of us check in and take positive steps to care for our mental health (for ideas visit Clear Your Head Scotland), there can be a point when support is needed. Identifying what you're experiencing is important to getting the right kind of support. If you need to speak with someone right now, organisations like Samaritans (116 123) and Breathing Space (0800 83 85 87) have helplines that you can call. If you've been lonely and this feeling is intense or you've been experiencing it for awhile, you may want to get in touch with a local befriending organisaiton (search the directory for contact details) who will be able to match you with a volunteer who will be able to call/visit for a chat, usually once per week. Some befriending services specifically support those living with a mental health condition, so if this is the case, you can specify this in your directory search. These organisations may also be able to signpost you to other services if it turns out that you need support beyond befriending.

We hope this week provides an opportunity to start meaningful conversations about mental health. The impact of the pandemic has certainly shown it is something that will need to be prioritised as we move forward and out of lockdown.