Mental Health and the Pandemic – One Year On

Running between 10 – 16th May is this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week. Run annually by the Mental Health Foundation, this year’s theme is ‘Nature’.

Mental Health and the Pandemic – One Year On

Author: Lauren MawsonHR Business Partner for PACT HR

Date: 11th May 2021

It’s safe to say this past year has been one of the most challenging some of us have ever faced. We’ve been anxious, lonely and barely parted with our sofas. For a while one of our few options for getting out of the house was to take a walk and so it’s unsurprising that many sought solace in nature; the theme of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week, organised by the Mental Health Foundation, will be running from 10 – 16th May 2021.

As stated by the Mental Health Foundation in their goals;

“Mental Health Awareness Week is open to everyone. It is all about starting conversations about mental health and the things in our daily lives that can affect it. This year we want as many people as possible – individuals, communities and governments – to think about connecting with nature and how nature can improve our mental health.”

As Aristotle said, ‘There is something to be wondered at in all of Nature’.

Research conducted by the Mental Health Foundation found that going walking was one of the top coping strategies for people during the Covid-19 pandemic, with almost half of respondents reporting being out in nature as vital for their mental health.

So how are we doing?

A landmark study revealed a mixed picture of mental health in the UK one year on from the start of the pandemic. Whilst there has been a 20% drop in reported anxiety, there has been a 16% rise in loneliness. Around the same number of adults reported feeling as hopeless as they did earlier this year to the same time last year, with a few particular cohorts being more likely to feel significantly distressed, including full time students, young adults, single parents and people with disabilities and long-term health conditions.

Let’s get outside!

Mental health awareness week this year aims to showcase through evidence the positive impact nature has on our mental health and wellbeing. Whether we’re taking just ourselves for walks or our dogs as well, connecting with nature in even a small way can help us deal with stress, low mood and isolation.

The Mental Health Foundation is asking people to do just three simple things for MHAW this year:

  • Experience nature
  • Share nature
  • Talk about nature

This can be something as small as taking a moment to smell freshly cut grass or remembering to water the succulent you bought from IKEA. You can also share and talk about what you’re doing on social media using #ConnectWithNature and #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek

Keep an eye on the Mental Health Foundation website for further resources and information.

How can PACT HR help?

  • Train you staff to become qualified Mental Health First Aiders! PACT HR is providing our very own Mental Health First Aid training, for more information visit our website for dates, further info, and how to book. Or alternatively, contact Training Consultant Simon Brannan on to find out more.
  • Speak to your HR Business Partner for support with helping your staff manage their mental health and wellbeing, with access to stress management actions plans, wellbeing guidance and the Employee Health & Wellbeing Service.