A week of attention brought to mind
The nationwide Mental Health Awareness Week (MHAW) runs next week from 9 – 15 October 2017.
New Zealand’s one of more than 150 countries making a special effort to alert and encourage people to be more mindful of mental health issues over the specific seven days.
It is run by the Mental Health Foundation, a charity with the brief to help all people enjoy positive wellbeing and ‘create hope’.
A special focus of the Foundation is suicide prevention, with an emphasis on telling incredible stories, especially stories of recovery from a mental health condition.
MHAW is carried out under contract by the Ministry of Health and is part of the Foundation’s wider mandate to influence individuals, whanau, organisations and communities to improve and sustain their mental health and reach their full potential.
‘Nature is Key’ continues last year’s highly successful theme
You don’t have to take a walk in our National Parks to take the mental health advantage of nature, says Sophia Graham, The Mental Health Foundation’s communications and marketing manager. This year Mental Health Awareness Week’s theme of ‘Nature is Key’ refreshes last year’s highly successful ‘Connect with Nature’.
A photo competition and workplace lockout will be big components of the October 9 – 15 event.
“Spending time in or with nature has been proven to make you more optimistic, less stressed and have better life satisfaction,” says Sophia.“We’re encouraging people, even people who live and work in urban areas, to take notice of the nature around them everyday. It doesn’t have to be difficult – it’s as easy as checking out a daisy popping through a crack in a footpath, looking out the window at the sky, or looking at a photo of a beautiful outdoor scene.”
Last year the Mental Health Foundation launched its inaugural workplace lockout on World Mental Health Day (10th October) encouraging employers to lock their staff out of the office for an hour and give them the opportunity to connect with the ordinary nature around their workplace. Last year, hundreds of workplaces downed tools for picnics, walks, tree-climbing, footy games and more.
“It’s clear from the research that making sure people take time out results in more productivity and a better bottom line,” Sophia says. “If staff have a proper break and get among nature, everyone is much better off.”
If you want your workplace to participate in Mental Health Awareness Week, check out the Mental Health Foundation’s free information, posters, and even keyboard stickers to put on keyboards in your office to remind your colleagues to take a break with nature during their work day. Read more at www.mhaw.nz
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