Wednesday 10 October 2018 is World Mental Health Day and lots of people will be doing their bit to raise awareness. The catchy phrase of Tea and Talk is rather fitting and we certainly support it.
The view of mental health is definitely changing and this HAS to be a good thing. People appear to be far more open to recognising and talking about the importance of acknowledging mental health and supporting those who require a bit of support.
BUT, we’re not there yet. In fact, in our opinion, we’re still WAY off the mark. Did you know: In the UK 1 in 10 children experience poor mental health with anxiety and depression being most common? This figure is increasing. Self-harm is increasing.
Children, young people and adults are, in many ways, more vulnerable now than they ever have been. The reliance on technology; social media and gaming is having a profound effect on us. Life in general is having an effect on us! …let alone the effects of plastic (but that’s a whole new blog for another day!)
We really shouldn’t be in the position where ‘falling apart’, medical intervention and suicidal thoughts are the only way to get children help. And yet, there are increasing statistics to suggest that parents are being told their children ‘aren’t sufficiently unwell enough’ to warrant any help. Early intervention is key!
Fast forward to the age of 14 and by this point half of mental health issues are established. By the age of 24 it’s three quarters. In every workplace there will be people who are struggling with their mental health. For many, work is a life line that keeps them going whilst for others it’s a real struggle to even turn up. They may be able to confide in a colleague for support, or may be in fear of losing their job if they give any indication that they are not performing to the demands of their role.
We ALL have periods in our lives when our mental health is affected. This can be for a wide range of reasons: some temporary; some long term. Some surface difficulties, some deep rooted.
Since we established Wild Play we’ve met so many people, from all walks of life and it seemed appropriate to share some of their thoughts. People recognise that there is no ‘quick fix’. They recognise that help and resources are limited. They recognise that the majestic, magical wand is not going to be wafted to make it all miraculously go away. However, they also recognise that it’s often the little things that actually do make a difference. Having a chat, asking someone how they are feeling, giving someone a compliment, doing that thoughtful random act of kindness, helping someone to feel positive about themselves in just a tiny way…all these things really do make such a difference. We’ve seen this first hand at all of our community workshops. We’ve seen this on our Explorers days when children can investigate and create in a non-judgemental environment.
Without any doubt, every single person we’ve met has recognised that being outdoors DOES make a difference. Getting up and getting out DOES help. For some people, stepping outside the front door can be a major achievement. Being outdoors is powerful and enabling people to just breathe, be in the moment, reflect, think, not be distracted by other things around them, feel the breeze or the sun, or the rain…not to be bothered by ‘the weather’ for a change.
Recently we attended the Menta Business Show where we were promoting all of the things we offer, including our corporate ‘Feel good’ days. SO many people told us that there is such a need to provide this kind of support for colleagues. Giving permission for employees to just stop. Breathe. Have fun. Be themselves.
Whether it’s children, teenagers, adults or the elderly. There is no doubt in our minds that being outdoors has a positive impact on mental health and well-being. So we would encourage everyone on this World Mental Health Day ( and EVERY DAY!) to take time for some Tea and Talk and, if possible…get out amongst the trees too!…you can be sure, that’s where we’ll be!