Mental Health Awareness Week 10th to 16th May 2021
Mental Health Awareness week 10th-16th May
Mental Health Awareness Week is an annual event when there is an opportunity for the whole of the UK to focus on achieving good mental health. The Mental Health Foundation started the event 21 years ago. Each year the Foundation continues to set the theme, organise and host the Week. The event has grown to become one of the biggest awareness weeks across the UK and globally.
Mental Health Awareness Week is open to everyone. It is all about starting conversations about mental health and the things in our daily lives that can affect it. This year we want as many people as possible – individuals, communities and governments – to think about connecting with nature and how nature can improve our mental health. This year they would like people to notice nature and try to make a habit of connecting to the nature every day. Stop to listen to the birdsong, smell the freshly cut grass, take care of a house plant, notice any trees, flowers or animals nearby. Take a moment to appreciate these connections.
At home, you could think about the 5 ways to Well-being and complete some of the activities below:
Listen to and learn to identify different bird song. Use this RSPB bird song identifier to help work out which song goes with which bird.
Cloud spotting - looking for shapes.
Patterns in nature.
Listening to dawn chorus.
Sit quietly outside and listen for sounds - how many can you hear?
Growing something and watching it, appreciate.
Lie on the ground be still and think about what you can feel. How many colours can you see?
Spotting bird formations.
Pay attention to an insect, watch its journey closely.
Watch the flow of water and listen to the sound focus on the shapes that the water makes.
How many different leaf shapes can you see?
Bark rubbing - feel the bark and take a rubbing
Woodland bathing - sit in a wooded area, be still and enjoy the sounds, colours and smells.
Growing seeds/plants at school or with friends or family.
Growing a fast growing plants e.g. cress (possibly in egg shell?) and share with family online via Zoom/Facetime. Have some fun by drawing a face on the egg and then cutting crazy cress hairstyles!Make picture/collage using natural materials
Listening game with a partner – how many nature sounds can be heard?
Birdwatching - or insect watching - with someone.
Gardening for someone else or a school or community garden/allotment with a group/friend.
Photograph some nature and make your pictures into a collage for a card send to friend/family.
Plantlife Survey – take part in this organisation's Cowslip Survey and connect with hunderds of others who care about the environment across UK.
Listen together to stories and poems about animals, minibeasts, birds - children could suggest their favourite stories about nature to add to the connection.
Nature walk with list of specific things to find (a treasure or scavenger hunt) e.g. a stone that’s not round, feathers of various colours and sizes, blossom, specific shape or colour leaf, something from each colour of the rainbow and/or school colours – record your treasure on digital camera/tablet.
Allocate play leaders to lead or teach a new outdoor activity during playtimes.
Challenge the children to make up or adapt a game using natural materials.
Litter picking/collecting – also a good way of connecting with others!
Make a hopscotch grid using things from nature - twigs, pebbles etc. and play hopscoth together
Grow herbs (especially mint) in little pots and give as a small gift to family or community members.
Be kind to nature (give to wildlife) build a bug hotel, squirrel or bird feeder.
Litter pick for your community.
Make daisy chains or weave willow bands to give to friends or family members.
Share one of your favourite places with someone, explore it with your senses.
Take a friend to your favourite place… hopefully somewhere they have never been.
Choose one of the activities from the Keep learning section – make something to give to a friend or relative!
Natural art - using objects from nature (blossom, twigs, stones, leaves, sand, shells etc.) to create a design or pattern. Take pictures, to preserve this natural art work!
Pressing flowers in the traditional way using books or using a microwave for a quicker way to dehydrate the flowers. Create pictures/cards using the flowers (and give to others!)
Research then design and create a garden/flower bed to attract wildlife (butterflies, bees, birds). This can be a small patch or even pots – the bigger the better for pots, as they take less looking after.
Sketch or paint outdoors to capture natural landscapes/flowers/birds.
Listen to and compose music with a natural theme e.g. linked to weather, water, woodland sounds.
Create bug hotels, hedgehog houses and bird feeding stations to attract wildlife.
Create a miniature garden on a plate - with gravel, pine cones, succulents, twigs, leaves etc.
Make a rainmaker by recycling an old plastic bottle and filling it natural objects - pebbles, twigs, gravel etc.
Create a story stick using elastic bands on a stick and then collect items on a walk through a natural environment in order to retell the adventure.