Today marks the start of Mental Health Awareness Week 2021 which recognises the positive impact of nature on mental health and wellbeing.
The coronavirus outbreak is likely to have an impact on everyone’s daily lives. Public Health Scotland’s rapid review of the effect of the pandemic on mental health, taken from studies between March and May last year, found that physical activity and social support acted as protective factors for mental health. This shows that, even during the most challenging months of an unprecedented pandemic, it was well established interventions that improved wellbeing. As Scotland adapts to the continued easing of COVID-19 restrictions, being outdoors in the natural environment while engaging in social or physical activity will help to reduce stress and anxiety, improve our moods, and lead to greater personal and community wellbeing.
Claire Sweeney, Director of Place and Wellbeing at Public Health Scotland, said:
“Coronavirus may have led to more uncertainty in people’s lives, but challenges to our mental health and wellbeing have always been present. The existing evidence that physical activity and social interaction protect mental health cannot be underestimated. In our work to improve Scotland’s mental wellbeing, we continue to champion this evidence and the importance of outdoor spaces to give people places to meet others face to face and to be active.”