Mental Health Awareness Week is taking place from 10-16 May and this year the theme is nature and the environment. The links between wellbeing and time spent outside being active were widely documented before the COVID-19 pandemic, but are all the more relevant now.
During long months of the pandemic, millions of us turned to nature. Mental Health Foundation 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 vital for our mental health.
Despite this, many of us are not accessing or benefitting from nature. Teenagers in particular appear to be less connected with nature and around 13% of UK households have no access to a garden.
This is why SAE has launched a photo competition in conjunction with Mental Health Awareness Week encouraging students to get outside, and put their creativity to the test.
We encourage everyone to get outside and experience nature: take time to recognise and grow your connection with nature during the week. Take a moment to notice and celebrate nature in your daily life. You might be surprised by what you notice!
SAE Student Experience Manager Adam Lowe said: “Being active and getting outdoors is really important to maintaining good mental health and wellbeing. With such a challenging year now more than ever we should take advantage of the great outdoors. I welcome this year's mental health awareness week and look forward to taking part!”
Enter SAE UK’s photo/video competition
SAE is running a competition open to all SAE UK students, inviting them to take a photo or video on a nature theme that makes them smile or feel calm or that they would call a happy place. You can be in the shot or not, it’s up to you. It can be a place, a view, an animal/pet or plant or flower etc. You can capture footage on a walk or use a GoPro style device to video when cycling or skating. Footage can be from urban, rural or coastal environments or in a garden, park or on a balcony. Each entry needs a few words to say what it is (max 200). Use of a phone is fine. There will be a £50 prize voucher for the best entry. All you need to do to submit your entry is to visit this page on Campus Online and submit your entry by 12.00 pm on Friday 14 May.
You can also post your photo to social media and use the hashtags #ConnectWithNature #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek #WeAreSAEUK and #TheHomeOfCreatives.
Oxford has lots of green spaces; why not take a wander down by the Isis or visit Port Meadow and take in all the wildlife? Or if you’re in the city centre, take a wander around Christ Church meadow on your lunch break.
SAE Glasgow SEO Debbie has compiled a list of walks in Glasgow and the surrounding areas, which you could use to get inspired: Pollock Country Park; Rouken Glen; Gleniffer Braes; Fereneze Braes Barrhead; Glasgow Green; Clyde Walkway along River Clyde; Mugdock Country Park; Campsie Fells;
Royal Botanic Gardens; Arthurs Seat; Lynn Park; Cammo Estate; Pentland Hills; Ayr Beach; Troon Beach; Irvine Beach; River Almond Walkway and Strathclyde Park.
SAE Liverpool SEOs Kelsey Dee-Floyd, Alex Hannah and Dayana Carragher recommend that students get out and about and make use of the city’s parks: Sefton Park; Princes Park; Calderstones Park; Festival Gardens and Stanley Park.
While London might not be the first place you think of when it comes to nature, there are lots of ways you can get in touch with the environment while living in the capital. The SAE London SEO team recommend a Tree Walk as a great way to get a dose of nature — check out this one near the London campus. Create your own personalised Tree Walk at https://www.treetalk.co.uk