The pandemic has hit us hard in almost every way possible. One of the biggest things it’s taught us is just how important physical interaction is, and how fragile our mental health can be. Statistics show that more than two thirds of adults in the United Kingdom have felt a negative impact on their mental health due to Covid-19, a substantial 8.1% increase from pre-pandemic figures. Further analysis found that depression in the United Kingdom doubled with a horrifying 19.2% increase.
However, despite these terrifying and truly saddening statistics, there is light at the end of this dark tunnel. In fact, reports show that the feeling of loneliness within the lockdown barely changed pre-pandemic and suicide rates did not go up. We have ourselves to thank for that, all of us.
If the pandemic’s taught me anything, it’s that we’re stronger than we think. It’s because of our nationwide awareness and community spirit that we’re coming out of this pandemic a more united people. There’s been a sense of general togetherness, a pure and understanding support that I’d never seen before. It’s single handily saved lives. Yet I must stress, it’s imperative this sense of awareness is not forgotten when we find ourselves Covid free.
People suffer from poor mental health every day, and it can be from anything. Here at Magenta, we don’t forget about people’s mental wellbeing. In honour of supporting Mental Health Awareness Week, we’ve worked on supporting our own.
Connecting with nature to support mental health
The M-People underwent several activities, not just to spread awareness of mental health, but to improve our own. We went with the theme of nature, keen to understand how important the world around us is to our wellbeing.
Nature is fundamental when it comes to our psychological and emotional health. For most of human history we lived as part of nature. It is only in the last five generations that so many of us have lived and worked in a context that is largely separate from nature. A 1960s study in the United States found that patients who were treated in hospitals with a visible view of nature recovered at a much quicker rate. Quite simply, nature is our greatest untapped resource for a mentally healthy future, and a resource we shouldn’t waste.
Throughout the week, the Magenta team took the time out of their day to step outside and reconnect with nature. Even to those who aren’t spiritually inclined, there’s no question that it can benefit your mental health. For me, I felt like an important cog in a much bigger machine. When I took the time to reconnect with what surrounds me, I started to realise just how important we all are, and how everything works together.
The beauty and freshness of stepping out of the concrete jungle can be unbeatable. I highly recommend anyone who feels lost or alone to not only reach out to someone, but to step outside. If you approach it with an open mind, nature can help you realise that you’re part of something bigger, and that we’re all connected through nature.
It’s the little things
There are these moments in life that make you smile, they’re tiny, almost insignificant. Yet, they’re everything. It’s these little moments that are worth clenching on to – it doesn’t matter how small they may seem. As one of our Mental Health Awareness Week activities, the M-People got together to think about those moments. We all had unique situations that were special to us, but what surprised many was how well they correlated with everyone. Just hearing what others find happy made people smile, perhaps because they shared that feeling, or maybe because it’s just nice to hear positivity.
Nevertheless, just by talking to each other about what gives us joy improved our wellbeing. See the below for some of those little moments that make us M-People happy:
- For Cathy Hayward, it’s watching how the morning light changes as the sun comes up, even if she can’t see the sunrise. Cathy also finds comfort standing in the dry as she watches the rain drip off the leaves in her garden.
- For Sabrina Stubbs, it’s going to the beach, watching and listening to the waves.
- For Shahlia Nelson-Rogers, it’s that moment when she’s sitting in her kitchen, having a morning coffee, and hearing the sound of her daughter getting out of bed and pottering around. It just puts a smile on her face.
- For Craig Peters, it’s bird song. Whenever he has his morning coffee, he cracks the back door open so he can hear the dunnocks, robins, chiffchaffs, sparrows, and blackbirds. He takes a few deep breaths and then he’s ready for the day.
- For Katina Byford-Winter, it’s her evening strolls with the kids. They take it in turns to decide where they’re going, and her kids love it because it feels a little naughty being out at night. She loves it for the magic light. That warm glowing light always puts a smile on her face.
I hope you were able to take the time to reflect on your mental health. Though an awareness week is great, we must remember that mental health is an everyday consideration.
Here’s to a happy and healthy 2021!