Hosted by the Mental Health Foundation, Mental Health Awareness Week takes place from Monday 10th – Sunday 16th May 2021 and the theme this year is ‘Nature’.
Mental health has become more relevant to all our lives during the pandemic. This year, get involved in Mental Health Awareness week by connecting with nature. Going for walks has been a common way of reducing feelings of social isolation during lockdown, and experiencing nature can bring benefits for our mental health during times of stress. It can help to increase our creativity, empathy, and sense of wonder.
Take time this week to experience nature and take note of the impact that this has on your mental health. You could tend to a house plant, listen to the birds or go for a walk in a green space. There are lots of places on campus, in Leeds and West Yorkshire, to help you connect with nature.
- There are a number of green spaces on campus including St George's Fields, the Sensory Garden or the Sustainable Garden.
- There are walking routes on campus including two accessible routes, that you can follow whilst monitoring the wildlife on campus including birds, mammals, pollinators and bats. Use the flower ID toolkit and the hedgehog map to help you spot the spring and summer wildlife.
- Use the University’s AccessAble guides to check disabled access and facilities on campus including parking and toilets.
- At the University’s Bike Hub you can hire a bike, get maintenance help from our qualified mechanics, borrow tools, and get cycling advice to ensure you have a great time cycling in Leeds.
- Follow the public art trail on campus, which tells the stories of individual works, their creators and patrons.
- Leeds City Council manage around 4,0000 hectares of green space across Leeds, making the city one of the greenest places to live in Europe. Check out the five great walks in Leeds and explore information about all the parks and countryside in and around Leeds for inspiration about which local parks, major parks, nature reserves, woodlands and sports pitches you could visit next.
- Do you want to start growing your own food but don’t know where to start? Feed Leeds in partnership with Food Wise have set up a free seedling exchange to help more people give growing a go.
There are lots more ideas about how to connect with nature on the University Sustainability blog including information about the 5 ways to wellbeing with advice on how to connect, be active, learn, give to others and take notice.
Share your experiences of nature by taking a photo, video or sound recording to inspire others. Share what this means to you at #ConnectWithNature during #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek.
What will you experience and share?
Activities and Events
The Mental Health and Wellbeing Team are running mindfulness activities including the following sessions;
- Live guided Rest, Reset and Resume sessions will be open to all staff every Thursday afternoon at 2.00 pm to 2.15 pm from 6th May to 29th July 2021. These sessions will give you the opportunity to catch up with yourself, settle, and reorientate to what you need to best move forward with your day. No need to book just stop, show up and tune in. Join any session via this same Zoom link
- A one-off nature awareness and connection practice will take place on 10th May 11.15 to 11.45 am. This guided practice will enable you to connect with your body and the natural world around you wherever you are. Join the session via this Zoom link
Team Unity are supporting Mental Health Awareness Week with a Time To Talk Session on 10th May, 1-2pm and 4-5pm. This session will provide a space for staff and students to chat and reset with a focus on the themes of environment and the earth. Contact email@example.com for more details about how to join this session via Zoom.
Get Out and Get Active with the BRIT Virtual Distance 2,021 mile team charity challenge for staff versus students. Log your physical activities to see who can cover the most distance during the week-long challenge!
This week, Leeds University Union (LUU) are running classes to help you stay active and look after your mental and physical wellbeing. On Thursday 13 May 2021, 4:30 pm-5:00 pm, join Qigong instructor Xiao for a wellbeing class which combines exercise and mindfulness with an aim to relax, de-stress and be mindful. On Friday 14 May 2021, 1:30 pm-2:30 pm, join Andy who will be teaching all elements of Shaolin Kung Fu and Internal Kung Fu.
Organisational Development and Professional Learning (OD&PL) are recommending a LinkedIn Learning list of learning paths and new content focused on mental health including content about supporting your Mental Health during Challenging Times. Access these resources with your University of Leeds LinkedIn Learning account.
As part of the University's Business School joint celebration of Black Inclusion Week and Mental Health Awareness Week, the School will be hosting a conversation between Professor Edgar Meyer and alumna Alison Lowe, Chief Executive at Touchstone Mental Health and Wellbeing Charity. A podcast recording of the conversation is available as part of the Podcast Diversity Conversation.
Mental Health Support at the University of Leeds
The University offers a range of mental health support services for staff and students.
- The Staff Counselling and Psychological Support service provides advice, information and counselling by email, phone and Zoom.
- The Student Counselling and Wellbeing Service remains open with support offered remotely by telephone, email and / or Zoom.
- Support is available to those who care for someone with mental health conditions, through our partnership with Carers Leeds which provides confidential one-to-one telephone appointments. Contact the Equality & Inclusion Unit to make a booking request. You can also contact the Carers Leeds advice line on 0113 380 4300 (Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm).
- The Staff Mental Health and Disability Network provides a welcoming space for colleagues with a personal interest in mental health.
- The Health and Wellbeing team have lots of practical information and advice for looking after your mental health.
- There is a summary of University, local and national mental health support organisations and resources available on the Equality & Inclusion Unit Mental Health and Wellbeing webpage.