Connecting with nature is good for you: tell us how you do it!

19 Apr, 2016

The evidence is irrefutable, and that’s why this year’s mental health awareness week topic is about the health and wellbeing benefits of being in nature.

And you don’t have to be super fit, or a rugged outdoors type of person to connect with nature. Small, doable activities in all sorts of places including urban settings and your own backyard are just as good for you. If you already know this, we’d love to hear about how you connect with nature to benefit your mental health. We're collecting people's experiences so we can write a series of stories to put on our Mental Health Awareness Week (MHAW) website .

Of particular interest are:

  • Examples of accessible options or programmes for people with disabilities.
  • How people connect with nature outside their back door, neighbourhood or in other urban settings. 
  • Examples from all corners of the country! 
  • Doable activities, small effort with big results.
  • Ideas from a wide range of ethnicities and life circumstances.
  • Examples of how affordability and environmental barriers (unsafe parks, streets etc) have been overcome by proactive communities.
  • NZ-based mental health and wellbeing services incorporating access to nature into their treatment options, eg, eco-therapy.

If you don’t have something to tell us about yourself, but you know about someone else or a programme or activity in your community that connects people to nature, we’d love some information about that too.

Important things to consider before submitting your ideas:

  • The main focus must be how your mental health and wellbeing is supported and nurtured by connecting with nature.
  • The same applies to ideas from organisations/services working with people to connect them with nature: the focus must be on the mental health and wellbeing benefits to the person, group or organisation.
  • You must be comfortable about us talking to you and writing your story for publication on our MHAW website, where anybody can read it. Usually a photo of the individual or people involved will accompany the story.

If you have considered the above, and are comfortable sharing your ideas, we’d love to hear from you. Please email comms@mentalhealth.org.nz with a brief description of what you think we would like to write about, and we’ll get back to you. By the way, MHAW this year is 10–16 October.

And, as always, thank you for your loyal and ongoing support for our work, we couldn’t do it without you.