Go out­side for men­tal health day

Central Leader - - MILESTONES - STAFF REPORTER

Spend an hour with na­ture on World Men­tal Health Day.

The Men­tal Health Foun­da­tion is ask­ing Ki­wis to con­nect with na­ture for good men­tal health and well­be­ing.

Oc­to­ber 10 - 16 is Men­tal Health Aware­ness Week (MHAW) and to get New Zealan­ders think­ing about how easy it is to sched­ule in some qual­ity time with na­ture, the Foun­da­tion is hold­ing a spe­cial na­tion-wideMHAWLock­out on Oc­to­ber 10 which is World Men­tal Health Day.

From 12pm to 1pm, Ki­wis are urged to head out­side and dis­cover how hap­pi­ness and well­be­ing blooms when you start to con­nect with the na­ture that sur­rounds you every day.

The foun­da­tion’s chief ex­ec­u­tive Shaun Robin­son says they will hold the MHAW Lock­out rain or shine.

‘‘At noon, turn off your com­puter, down your tools, shut up shop and head out­side to ex­plore the world around you.’’

‘‘You don’t need to strap on your hik­ing boots or your skis, just go and ex­plore the blue and green spaces you work and live around every day. It’s about mak­ing time to feel nat­u­rally happy and it’s eas­ier than you might think,’’ he says.

Nearly 50 per cent of New Zealan­ders will ex­pe­ri­ence a men­tal health prob­lem in their life­time, and de­pres­sion is set to over­come heart dis­eases as the big­gest global health bur­den by 2020.

‘‘Ki­wis are in­creas­ingly stressed, lead­ing seden­tary life­styles, sleep­ing less, work­ing more and have in­creas­ing lev­els of debt,’’ Robin­son says.

‘‘There are sim­ple things we can all do that will make a huge dif­fer­ence to the men­tal health and well­be­ing of all New Zealan­ders.’’

Re­search has shown that spend­ing time with na­ture is great for men­tal and phys­i­cal health.

Ev­i­dence proves it makes peo­ple hap­pier, de­creases feel­ings of de­pres­sion and anx­i­ety, im­proves con­cen­tra­tion, buf­fers against stress, makes lives mean­ing­ful and re­duces health in­equal­i­ties re­lated to poverty.

‘‘Spend­ing qual­ity time with na­ture will sup­port your staff to feel hap­pier and more pro­duc­tive,’’ Robin­son says. Go to mhaw.nz for more in­for­ma­tion.

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