Monday 4 October 2021: Bermuda Hospitals Board and its Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute invite the public to join them this week in celebrating Mental Health Awareness Week. The theme this year is Nature – It’s Part of Your Everyday Life.
“Mental health is important to each and every one of us, not just those of us who have a mental health ailment,” said Health Minister Kim Wilson.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has caused us to focus on our mental health a bit more than we would normally. This is good. We are all, I believe, more open to discovering and adopting ways to protect and build resilience for our mental wellbeing.
“This week we, the Government, would like the entire community to connect with nature- perhaps in new ways and to notice how this makes them feel – perhaps you feel calmer, less anxious or just feel that you are in a better mood.
“Connecting with nature is easy to incorporate in your everyday life – you can have your lunch in one of the parks, tend to your house plants, listen to birds, smell flowers, write poetry about nature, hug a tree, or enjoy walking or running along our beautiful railway trails and pristine beaches. Enjoy the slightly cooler temperatures and have a picnic with your children.
“This week, we ask you to do 3 things: – experience nature, share nature on social media and talk about nature. In other words, for this week: Make Nature a Part of Your Everyday Life.”
BHB Acting Chief of Psychiatry Dr Anna Neilson-Williams said: “There is growing research that shows a correlation between being in nature and improvement in mental wellbeing. Time in nature has been shown to reduce stress hormones, lower blood pressure, reduce nervous system arousal, increase self-esteem, reduce anxiety and improve mood.”
“A UK survey this year coordinated by the UK Mental Health Foundation, found that 59% of the respondents felt going for a walk outside helped them cope with stress related to the COVID-19 pandemic and 50 percent felt that just being able to visit green space helped them,” said BHB Acting Chief Operating Officer and VP of Clinical Operations – MWI, Preston Swan.
“This shows that even small amounts of time in nature can reduce feelings of social isolation and be effective in protecting your mental health,” he added. “BHB invites the public to tune into The Daily Hour on Facebook from 8am-9am on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday this week to learn about how nature can impact mental health in different age groups.
“We also encourage the public to make a point of being in nature this week and to notice the positive impact this has on their mood and mental wellbeing.”
MWI’s annual MindFrame PhotoVoice exhibition which features artwork from MWI clients, opened on Friday 24 September at the Bermuda Society of Arts in City Hall. The exhibition is free to the public and runs until 13 October.