Supporting outdoor therapies in Coventry and Warwickshire for Mental Health Awareness Week 2023
This Mental Health Awareness Week (MHAW), we're funding vital mental health support for people in Coventry and Warwickshire.
We've donated £1,000 towards Coventry and Warwickshire Mind, to fund service such as TEaM: an ecotherapy-based project that aims to enhance mental health and wellbeing outdoor activities, including:
Planting, growing and harvesting food, plants and flowers
Learning about nature and wildlife
Seasonal crafts and woodwork
Nature walk and talks
Socialising with other TEaM members
Ecotherapy is a type of formal treatment used for various mental health conditions which involves doing activities outside in nature.
As part of our MHAW campaign, Coventry and Warwickshire Mind has kindly provided us with some helpful information and resources to support current and future residents at our developments in these regions.
Sales offices for The Asps, Valiant Fields and Union View (remote), and Appledown Gate will also carry leaflets with advice on tips for everyday living and how to access the charity's services.
Read on for more information about the mental health benefits of outdoor time and for some ideas on how to get started.
“Spending time in nature has been found to help with mental health problems such as anxiety and depression. For example, research into ecotherapy...has shown it can help with mild to moderate depression. This might be due to combining regular physical activity and social contact whilst being outside in nature.“Being outside in natural light can be helpful if you experience seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a type of depression that affects people during particular seasons or times of year. And people tell us that getting into nature has helped them with many other types of mental health problems."
Spending more time outdoors can be daunting if you're unwell or feeling down, especially if you usually spend a lot of time at home.
Coventry and Warwickshire Mind recommends starting small, as even small amounts of time in nature can boost your mood.
The charity says that you should try out different activities to find out what works best for you, and try to incorporate things into your daily routine that you already enjoy. For example, if you already enjoy reading or practicing mindfulness, try doing these activities in an outdoor setting for added benefits.
Equally, if you usually exercise at home or at the gym, going cycling or for a walk in green spaces can amplify the mood-boosting benefits of exercise.
Once you've built confidence being in nature, you could try activities that not only benefit your health, but also the environment. Coventry and Warwickshire Mind suggests the following:
Go on a litter picking walk in your neighbourhood.
Plant helpful seeds such as berry bushes for garden birds or flowers to help bumblebees. See the Bumblebee Conservation Trust website for more information on bumblebees.
Build an animal habitat such as a hedgehog house or a bird box.
Try upcycling. The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) website has suggestions on upcycling for nature.
We recognise the importance of being able to access nature close to home and try to integrate outdoor activities and green spaces into our developments where possible. At Valiant Fields in our brand new community of Upper Lighthorne, residents will be able to enjoy scenic views while walking, running or cycling on footpaths around lakes or relax on one of several grassy areas. There will also be allotments for the green-fingered to grow fresh fruit and vegetables, while sustainability features such as bee boxes and bug hotels will help to promote biodiversity.
Ideas to try in nature
There are loads of great ideas on Coventry and Warwickshire Mind’s website for activities to try in nature. You can click on each one for more information:
If you feel you could benefit from more structured outdoor therapy, we recommend that you get in touch with your local Mind. People living in Coventry and Warwickshire can find out more about accessing local services here.
A safe place for you to talk any time you like, in your own way about whatever’s getting to you. You don’t have to be suicidal. Call 116 123 at any time of the day or night for free.
Coventry and Warwickshire Mental Wellbeing Line provided by 'Wellbeing for Warwickshire' in Coventry and Warwickshire
The Coventry and Warwickshire Mental Wellbeing Line is for Coventry and Warwickshire residents.
If you are:
feeling low, anxious, or stressed,
having a difficult time coping,
and need to talk to someone in confidence to find the right service
Coventry and Warwickshire Mental Wellbeing Line provides:
Connection, advice, information and signposting to other services
24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year service
Call 0800 616171 to speak to one of our friendly and compassionate advisors.
Coventry Safe Haven
Out-of-hours mental health support to anyone aged 18+ in the Coventry area. Support is currently provided by telephone. Open Monday to Sunday 6-11pm