Bedford Borough Council is supporting Mental Health Awareness Week and the theme this year is Nature.
Research on the mental health impacts of the pandemic showed going for walks outside was one of our top coping strategies and 45% of us reported being in green spaces had been a vital for our mental health.
The Mental Health Foundation told us that websites which showed footage from webcams of wildlife saw hits increase by over 2000%. Wider studies also found that during lockdowns, people not only spent more time in nature but were noticing it more.
This year's aim is to encourage people to connect with nature, which might be somewhere right on your doorstep. Whether you do this on your own, with a friend or family member, the benefits from spending time in nature and incorporating this into your daily routine can be great!
Throughout the pandemic many of us turned to nature to help us through these unprecedented times. Even brief contact with nature - whether it's a walk along the River Great Ouse, sitting on a park bench in Bedford Park or simply listening to birds singing in your garden - can help reduce feelings of anxiety and help to protect our mental health.
It's important to remember it is OK to feel stressed or anxious and that everyone reacts differently. This situation is temporary and for most people these difficult feelings will pass, but there is support available if you need it.
Residents can join in with Mental Health Awareness Week by sharing stories or pictures of connecting with nature in their favourite spots from around the Borough on social media using the hashtags #NatureBLMK, #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek and #ConnectingWithNature
Throughout Mental Health Awareness Week the Council will be signposting to resources online through social media channels.
For tips on how to take care of your mental health and wellbeing during times of uncertainty visit www.bedford.gov.uk/wellbeing.