Home Health Discover the benefits of spending times in the great outdoors
Image of wildflowers

Discover the benefits of spending times in the great outdoors

by Sandra Issar

As the days get lighter and longer and spring brings more colour and wildlife into our gardens, parks and green spaces it’s a wonderful time to escape outdoors and experience the benefits of nature on our health and wellbeing.

We know that people who spend time in nature are happier and healthier – which explains why nature is the theme for this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week, from 10 to 16 May.

Spending time in the great outdoors is known to be an effective way of supporting our mental health and wellbeing.  It’s also a great way to keep active too, going out for a short walk every day, breathing in fresh air and taking in the sights and sounds around us can help to lift our mood and help us to destress after a busy day.

Research by the Mental Health Foundation has shown that being in nature has been one of the most popular ways we have tried to sustain good mental health during periods of lockdown and throughout the pandemic.

Connecting with nature

It’s important to switch on your senses and really connect with nature; you could stop to listen to the birdsong, smell the freshly cut grass or notice any trees, flowers or wildlife or animals nearby. It’s about making time to notice and appreciate the natural world around us.

Knowsley Council’s Green Spaces team has come up with some great ideas to help us stay connected with nature.

The fab guide has a section on stargazing with hints and tips about the best way to view night time skies, as well as a bird watching fact sheet and links to relevant websites.

Also, tips to improve your wellbeing and how to find out more about nature on a trip to your local Knowsley park, the guide has something for everyone!

There’s more about the guide and how to download it here.

Want more information about Knowsley’s parks and green spaces?

For more information about parks and green spaces in Knowsley visit the council’s website, www.knowsley.gov.uk or email: dns.sustainability@knowsley.gov.uk

Taking part in the Knowsley Sunflower Challenge is another great outdoor activity which anyone can join in with and enjoy. No gardening experience is necessary thanks to the Knowsley Flower Show step-by-step guide to growing a sunflower. And, if you can’t get hold of sunflower seeds, a supply of seeds, kindly dontated by Halewood farmer Olly Harrison – is available for you to use by contacting the council.

Find out all there is to know about the Knowsley Sunflower Challenge

The Healthy Knowsley website has lots of top tips and simple ideas for everyday activities which will help to boost your mood and make you feel about yourself.

The vast majority of us have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic in some way, whether it’s the loss of a loved one, spending more time alone or financial concerns. While spending time outdoors in nature can reduce stress, balance your mood and help you feel more positive, some people may need some further support to deal with feeling anxious, concerned or confused, all of which are completely normal and understandable.

Mental health support

If you are feeling anxious, worried or low Kind to Your Mind has lots of advice and useful resources to help look after your mental health. It is home to ALMA – the dedicated health and wellbeing website with a range of free online therapy programmes to help you deal with stress and getting better sleep to improving resilience and coping with your emotions.

You can also get a free NHS-approved Mind Plan from The Better Health – Every Mind Matters website. Simply answer five quick questions you will get a free plan with practical tips to help you manage stress, sleep better and boost your mood.

Further support

If you’d rather chat to someone you can contact one of the agencies below. You can also call one of these agencies if you have concerns about someone you know.

If you are in mental health crisis and you need urgent help, please call the NHS Mental Health crisis line on 0800 051 1508.  NHS staff will then support you to get the help you need. – Available for people of all ages, including children and young people, available 24/7. Call Freephone 0800 051 1508.

  • Samaritans– a national registered charity with local branches, available around the clock. Freephone: 116 123 or visit the Samaritans website.
  • Young Minds Parents Helpline offers free, confidential online and telephone support, including information and advice to any adult worried about the emotional problems, behaviour or mental health of a child or young person up to the age of 25. Lines are open Lines are open 9.30am to 4.00pm, Monday to Friday 0808 802 5544 (free for mobiles and landlines). YoungMinds website also has a range of support and guidance for parents who maybe worried about their child.
  • Kooth provides online and face to face counselling, information, advice and support for young people in secondary schools. Find out more on Kooth’s website.
  • Knowsley CAMHS Services is a referral service for children and young people in Knowsley whose emotional, behavioural or mental health issues are causing them problems in their school, family or social life. If you are worried about your child make an appointment to speak to your GP.
  • The Silver Lineis a helpline which operates 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year for anyone aged 55 and over. It is free to call on 0800 4 70 80 90 from a mobile or landline.
  • CALM – Campaign Against Living Miserably– a registered charity, which exists to prevent male suicide in the UK. Phone: 0800 58 58 58 or visit the CALM website.
  • AMPARO– support after suicide – offering advice and support around suicide prevention as well as support to adults, children and young people affecting by suicide. Find out more by calling 0330 088 9255, emailing referrals@listening-ear.co.uk, visit the website at listening-ear.co.uk/amparo or follow on Twitter @AMPARO_LEM
  • SOBS (Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide)– meeting the needs and overcoming the isolation experienced by people over the age of 18 who have been bereaved by suicide. Find out more by calling 0300 111 5065, emailing support@hotmail.com, visit the website at https://uksobs.org/or follow on Twitter @SOBSCharity.

Visit the Every Mind Matters website for your personalised Mind Plan and Kind to Your Mind for advice and resources to help look after your mental health.