The theme for this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week (10-16 May) is nature, inspired by the role that it has played in helping people to cope during the coronavirus pandemic.
Hosted by the Mental Health Foundation, the event aims to start conversations about mental health and the things in our daily lives that can affect it. This year’s focus is how connecting with the natural world can support good mental health.
“Since the beginning of the pandemic, millions of us turned to nature to help us get through lockdowns and our research shows that good mental health depends on us being able to connect with nature in some way and its power in both prevention of and recovery from poor mental health,” explains Mark Rowland Chief Executive of the Mental Health Foundation.
“During the week, we want to hear millions of people’s stories about how the natural world has supported their mental health. We also want to highlight the huge disparities between who is and who isn’t able to access nature. We want the week to explore how everyone across the UK can connect with nature and experience the mental health benefits wherever they live.”
The great outdoors is an area of focus for the Westerly Club, a community group for men based in the North East. There are a number of construction professionals within the group, which has 331 members and Federation of Master Builders’ Board Member and Managing Director of Carr & Carr (Builders) Ltd, Chris Carr, is one of its Ambassadors.
“We meet virtually online every week just for a chat but when not in lockdown we go for walks along Cleethorpes beach or other outdoor activities,” he explains. “Most of the time the guys message the Ambassadors when they are feeling down or troubled about things. It’s just about listening to them and letting them know they are not alone.”
It offers members free advice on a range of issues, passing them onto the professional therapists who manage and oversee the group, where appropriate.
While attitudes towards mental health are changing, male construction workers are at greater risk of suicide than men on average according to the ONS, with two construction workers taking their own life every working day in the UK.
Organisations such as The Westerly Club and our national charity partner The Lighthouse Club play an important role in supporting construction workers and breaking down the stigma around mental health.
Find out more about how you can support Mental Health Awareness Week at the Mental Health Foundation's website.