Mental Health Awareness Week 2021

Written by: Rosie Lobley

The theme of Mental Health Awareness Week 2021, hosted by the Mental Health Foundation between 10 and 16 May, was nature and its impact on mental health. This year’s campaign had two key aims: to spark conversations and draw people’s focus to the importance of achieving and sustaining good mental health; and to inspire individuals, communities and decision-makers to consider the links between connecting with nature and mental wellbeing.

It was as if we were rediscovering at our most fragile point our fundamental human need

In an article on the Mental Health Foundation’s website explaining the thinking behind this year’s theme, Chief Executive Mark Rowland commented: ‘During long months of the pandemic, millions of us turned to nature. Our 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. Websites which showed footage from webcams of wildlife saw hits increase by over 2,000%. Wider studies also found that during lockdowns, people not only spent more time in nature but were noticing it more. It was as if we were rediscovering at our most fragile point our fundamental human need to connect with nature.’

Mental Health Awareness Week 2021 nature photography competition

In line with the theme of nature, the Spirit team marked Mental Health Awareness Week 2021 by taking the opportunity to connect with the great outdoors and hone our photography skills with a nature photography competition. We encouraged everyone to get outside and show us all there is to see in their local area. As their entries – shown above – prove, we have got some really beautiful surroundings right at our doorsteps!

In a company-wide vote, we selected Director of Creative Services Jude D’Souza as the winner of our 2021 nature photography competition for his beautiful images of wildlife living along the Macclesfield canal. Congratulations to Jude!