Theme announced for Mental Health Awareness Week

12 Jul, 2016

The theme for this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week (MHAW) is CONNECT with NATURE for good mental health and wellbeing. We’ll be celebrating MHAW from 10–16 October.

Why nature? Well, research tells us that people who regularly connect with nature experience less stress, significant boosts in mood and less mental distress. In fact, just viewing nature from a hospital window can speed up your recovery from surgery.

And you don’t have to trek the great walks or immerse yourself in our wonderful national parks and reserves to get these benefits, although we encourage you to do so if you can! Nature is just outside your back door, you can even bring it inside with indoor plants, and you will still receive the benefits. That’s because nature nurtures.

New website goes live in August

With the theme set, we’re now beavering away on the design so we can create free posters, postcards, e-files etc. The MHAW website is getting an upgrade and the new site is due to go live in early August. In the meantime, the old site is still live and has the current information on it for this year. Any submissions or information you submit to the current site before we transition to the new site will be copied over.

If you’re already planning your event, you can self-submit the details on our MHAW calendar, it’s open now. You can also sign up to receive regular updates in the build-up to MHAW.

We will have the visual e-files (email and Facebook banners etc) and PDFs (posters and postcards, kids colouring competition etc) available for download in mid-August. People can start ordering their resources as soon as these files are online.

Free printed posters and postcards will start being mailed out to those who have placed orders in early September.

Celebrating MHAW in schools

Our invaluable ‘Dig Deeper’ information on connecting with nature for good mental health and wellbeing will also be available, with books and book reviews, national and international research, video/audio/app recommendations etc, and inspiring stories of people connecting with nature but we’re always on the lookout for more. So if you come across something quirky, unusual or just plain amazing, email us at communcations@mentalhealth.org.nz

This year MHAW will occur in week one of term four of the school year. We’re excited to see how Kiwi schools celebrate MHAW and incorporate it into their school activities.

And finally, don’t forget to sign up for updates, so you can get in early to plan, submit, order, download, enter the competitions, win prizes and participate in MHAW16 during 10-16 October.