© New Zealand Broadcasting School 2020

Getting out in the nature could help your mental health

Lydia Clarke

‘Let Nature In’ has been the theme for this years New Zealand Mental Health Awareness week.

This past week has been our Mental Health Awareness week (MHAW), and a record number of people, workplaces, organisations and schools have registered and shown interest to participate.

Mental Health Foundation Chief executive, Shaun Robinson, said that we all have mental health and it’s something we all need to take good care of, every day.

“This shows us that New Zealanders really are prioritising their wellbeing. They’re wanting to learn more about how nature can uplift their spirit and are placing their mental health front and centre more regularly.”

A recent survey by the Mental Health Foundation has revealed that Kiwis felt spending time in nature made them feel better. The majority of New Zealanders that participated in the survey felt this way and 75% said they intended to spend more regular time in nature.

“We know connecting with nature makes us feel good, and every little bit helps us find balance, build resilience and boost mental wellbeing,” Shaun Robinson said.

“We are lucky to live in a country surrounded by natural beauty. Every day we have opportunities to stop, take it in and appreciate the goodness that already surrounds us.”

Research by the Mental Health Foundation (MHF) has proven that spending time in the outdoors improves people’s energy and mood. It will also help with concentration and speeds up recovery from tough times. It decreases anxiety and feelings of depression, and it helps with stress and makes lives meaningful.

The MHF has said that nearly 50% of New Zealanders will experience a mental health problem in their lifetime, and depression is set to overcome heart diseases as the biggest global health burden by 2020.

This year’s MHAW has concentrated on bringing the ‘Five Ways to Wellbeing’ and nature together.

The five ways are; Connect, Give, Take Notice, Keep learning, Be active.

The MHF have encouraged people to get outdoors and explore and experience nature using these five ways.

Over the course of this week, there have been a number of events, challenges and resources that have been there to help and encourage Kiwi’s to look after their wellbeing.

In Christchurch, the All Right? Amble, which is run by university students, put a walking event on last weekend in the Botanic Gardens. The walk leads participants to five different spots that represent the 5 different ways to wellbeing. 

WHERE TO GET HELP:

Lifeline (open 24/7) - 0800 543 354

Depression Helpline (open 24/7) - 0800 111 757

Suicide Crisis Helpline (open 24/7) - 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO). This is a service for people who may be thinking about suicide, or those who are concerned about family or friends.

Youthline (open 24/7) - 0800 376 633. You can also text 234 for free between 8am and midnight, or email talk@youthline.co.nz

0800 WHATSUP children's helpline - phone 0800 9428 787 between 1pm and 10pm on weekdays and from 3pm to 10pm on weekends. Online chat is available from 7pm to 10pm every day.

Kidsline (open 24/7) - 0800 543 754. This service is for children aged 5 to 18. Those who ring between 4pm and 9pm on weekdays will speak to a Kidsline buddy. These are specially trained teenage telephone counsellors.

Your local Rural Support Trust - 0800 787 254 (0800 RURAL HELP)

Alcohol Drug Helpline (open 24/7) - 0800 787 797. You c