Posted on: 10 May 2021

Grenfell Health and Wellbeing Service users and staff are marking Mental Health Awareness Week, by reflecting on how nature supports their mental wellbeing.

During the course of the week, we will share images, videos and other works of art from our service users and staff, exploring the relationship between nature and mental health.

Research shows that spending time in nature, and outdoor forms of mental health support (like ecotherapy) are beneficial to people’s mental wellbeing. They can help depression and anxiety, as well as relieve stress, reduce anxiety, and boost self confidence and self esteem.

“Walking and breathing in fresh air, looking at the greenery and flowers is really beneficial,” says Rozmin Mukhi, Grenfell Specialist Psychotherapist.

“It is also great fun to be imaginative with the shapes of the clouds imagine seeing animals or birds. I thoroughly encourage my clients to play this game with their imagination. Walking near a lake, stream or a river is very healing and cleansing. It is also very positive to walk where there are many trees or sit under a tree. If you decide to sit under a tree, choose a tree with a large canopy to enhance your well-being.”

Get the most out of nature

There are lots of ways that we can bring nature into our everyday life, including looking after plants, eating outdoors, gardening, fruit foraging, interacting with animals, photographing nature, exercising outdoors and stargazing. The Mind website has lots of helpful tips for using nature to boost your mental wellbeing.

Our Grenfell NHS Service offers different forms of outdoor therapies and support which utilise the power of nature. This includes gardening groups, ecotherapy for families and mindful walks (Find out about our upcoming walk in Holland Park this Tuesday).

 “Taking time in nature can be incredibly helpful for emotional wellbeing. This could be as simple as taking a walk or feeding the ducks in the local park, or sitting on a bench for a few minutes, turning off your phone and just noticing what’s around you.  It’s a really helpful way to calm the mind,” says Sara Northey, Clinical Psychologist and Clinical Lead for Children & Young People.

“In the Grenfell Health and Wellbeing Service, we have been working in partnership with the Holland Park Ecology Centre to offer children time in their private forest space, building dens, hunting for minibeasts and making popcorn over a bonfire. This has been a great way for children to connect with nature, and to build their confidence,” says Sara.

Ali, one of service user representatives from North Kensington agrees with Sara.  In our first post to mark Mental Health Awareness Week, Ali tells us how playing American football outside supports his mental wellbeing.