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Mental Health Awareness Week

11 May 2021

To mark this year's Mental Health Awareness Week (10 to 16 May), residents are reminded of the wellbeing benefits of connecting with nature and the free support services available to them.

The Mental Health Foundation's theme for Mental Health Awareness Week is 'nature', inspired by its research throughout the pandemic that listed going for walks outside as one of people's top coping strategies. Richmond upon Thames has 128 parks and areas of open space, more than any other London borough. Residents are encouraged to get outside and explore these spaces to feel the benefits. The Mental Health Foundation lists some top tips on connecting with nature.

The local charity Dose of Nature (which is also one of the Mayor’s charities) is a mental health charity that improves the mental health and wellbeing of individuals through increased engagement with the natural world. It offers nature prescriptions, group therapy and workshops.

Exploring nature with others provides an opportunity to connect. Spending time talking about your hopes and fears with friends and family can support your well-being. The five ways to wellbeing is an evidence-based approach to improving your mental health. By taking time to walk, talk and observe nature you can cover three of the five steps in one activity. For families looking for creative outdoor activities see 50 things to do before you are 11 ¾.

In addition to connecting with nature, residents who are experiencing feelings of anxiety, loneliness or depression are encouraged to reach out and find support.

Support services available:

  • If you are concerned about children or young person’s mental health, a range of services are available from Richmond and Kingston Safeguarding Partnership, including access to online counselling. Find out what advice and support is available
  • The online service Good Thinking is a free virtual resource provided by Thrive London, Public Health England and the NHS. It aims to provide digital mental wellbeing support for London through online quizzes, workshops, podcasts and activities
  • Richmond Wellbeing Service offers a range of free and confidential talking therapies and specialist support for adults. For more information visit Richmond Wellbeing Service website or give them a call on 020 8548 5550
  • RB Mind’s Helpline offers a safe place where you can speak to someone who will listen, offer you support and guide you to further help if needed. The service is for anyone over 18 years old living in the borough. Call 0203 137 9590 if you need emotional support. Lines open Monday to Friday from 9am to 10pm, Saturday from 2 to 10pm and Sunday from 2 to 8.00pm
  • If you need mental health support in a crisis, you can call the Southwest London and St George's Mental Health NHS Trust 24/7 Mental Health Support Line on 0800 028 8000. It is open to everyone and if required you can then visit the 24/7 Orchid Mental Health Emergency Service at Springfield Hospital in Tooting, London, to receive specialist care from expert mental health professionals.  

Cllr Piers Allen, Lead Member for Adult Social Services, Health and Housing, and Chair of the Richmond Health & Wellbeing Board, said:

"The pandemic means most of us will have experienced poor mental health or seen a loved one struggle. 

"The mental health benefits of nature are well documented. Taking the time to be outside or to bring nature into your everyday life can improve your mood, reduce feelings of stress and help you relax. Personally, I have noticed how jogging, cycling and walking improves my mental wellbeing and feel lucky to live in a borough where you can easily take a stroll in a park or by the river.

"Mental health support is one of the key services that we provide as a Council and it is important that everyone is aware of the support services available to them, should they or a friend or neighbour need them now or in the future."

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Up to: May 2021

Updated: 11 May 2021