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Mental Health Awareness Week 10-16 May

Image of Students sitting at computers at USS Campus

Are you connecting with nature?

The theme for this year’s Mental Health Awareness week is all about connecting with nature. The evidence shows that two-thirds of us will experience a mental health problem in our lifetimes. The past year and the pandemic have underscored the pressing need to address this issue.

Research has shown that being more active is crucial for mental health and the lockdown put this into perspective, with people having to make a deliberate choice to keep moving.  

Mark Rowland, Chief Executive of the Mental Health Foundation, said, “Our research on the mental health impacts of the pandemic showed going for walks was one of our top coping strategies and 45% of us reported being in green spaces had been vital for our mental health.”

The university advocates the benefits of resilience and positive mental health and has in place wellbeing services to all staff and students. 

All UEL staff have access to information that can guide them to portals to access help on enhancing their health and wellbeing. These include Occupational Health, Staff Health and Wellbeing Pages and the employee assistance programme which features readily available health support services and resources. The students have services that offer counselling, advice and guidance, including a wellbeing online toolkit.  

Dr Ian Pickup, pro-vice chancellor (education and experience) said, “The past year has been challenging for staff and students alike, and we have continued our vitally important work by taking a ‘whole institution’ approach, seeking to support the mental health and wellness of our university community. 

“Mental Health Awareness Week provides us all with a reminder about the proactive actions we can take to look after ourselves and others. This year’s focus on nature hopefully coincides with warmer weather and an opportunity to connect with our environment away from a digital screen. I look forward to walking meetings on campus with colleagues soon!”

Nature is a free and available resource so please join the UEL community this week to step outside, reflect, connect with nature and share your stories on social media tagging #UEL, #ConnectWithNature and #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek