This week is Mental Health Awareness Week and this year’s theme is nature and the environment. Nature is so central to our psychological and emotional health, that it’s almost impossible to realise good mental health for all without a greater connection to the natural world. For most of human history, we lived as part of nature. It is only in the last five generations that so many of us have lived and worked in a context that is largely separated from nature. And it is only since a 1960s study in the US found that patients who were treated in hospitals with a view of nature recovered faster, that science has started to unpack the extraordinary health benefits.
What’s Going on This Mental Health Awareness Week 2021 from The Mental Health Awareness Foundation:
- Evidence that demonstrates the powerful benefits of nature for our mental health.
- Nature’s unique ability to not only bring consolation in times of stress, but also increase our creativity, empathy and a sense of wonder.It turns out that it is not just being in nature but how we open ourselves up and interact with nature that counts.
- Demonstrate that even small contacts with nature can reduce feelings of social isolation and be effective in protecting our mental health, and preventing distress.
‘There is something to be wondered at in all of Nature’ – Aristotle
The Importance of Awareness
The understanding of mental health has accelerated over the past decade, with the stigma slowly fading away. In the past year alone there has been a substantial shift with the government directly addressing the scale of the issue through making a £5 Million budget available to mental health charities as well as launching their Every Mind Matters Campaign.
The Every Mind Matters campaign encourages adults to be more aware of their mental health and helps them discover simple steps to look after their mental health and wellbeing with the free NHS-approved online tool, which helps people build an action plan to deal with stress and anxiety, boost their mood, improve their sleep and help them feel more in control. The campaign saw so much attention that the website went down on the day it launched, believed to be due to the number of hits.
Through this tool it was discovered that 59% of 36-45-year-olds noticed their mental health deteriorating during the Covid-19 global pandemic. It is also thought that 1 in 4 people in the UK within this age range has experienced a mental health problem of some kind at some point throughout the year.
Talking Medicines Collected Data
Talking Medicines have utilised Medsmart®, one of their many data collection methods to pull statistics on the prevalence of mental health conditions and the use of mental health related drugs. The data was extracted from a pool of thousands of individuals within the 36-45-year-old age bracket and the findings are worrying:
- 40% of all medication logged through Medsmart from this age bracket are Mental Health Related
- 32% of all medication logged are related to depression
- 68% of all medications logged are related to anxiety
- 3 of the top 5 medication brands logged are mental health related
- The main co-med is for Gastric reflux, a common side effect from taking anti-depressants
If you are experiencing any mental health issues, know that you are not alone and there is a place you can go to reach out: