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Step outside for your mental health

• Mental Health • May 11, 2021 • 15 min read


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Never has the outdoors been so important for our physical, mental, and social wellbeing. We caught up with some of our OS GetOutside Champions to chat about their experiences with mental health and how getting outside, talking to someone, and connecting with nature can make all the difference.

OS GetOutside Champions 

OS GetOutside Champions Eli Bishop, Iwan Thomas and Prof Greg Whyte

The statistics surrounding being outdoors and mental health speak for themselves. It lowers stress levels, improves mental health, increases levels of serotonin, dopamine, endorphins and if you spend your time outside talking and listening, with care, then you can throw in a good dose of oxytocin into the mix too.

wild swimming 

OS GetOutside Champions Prof Greg Whyte and Eli Bishop

Why is talking so important?

OS GetOutside Champion Eli Bishop tells us why talking is so important

“I’ve been telling my story for nearly 6 years and it has been a revelation. If by telling my own story, I’ve helped someone else to talk and seek support, then that's a win for me. Talking also helps break down stigmas associated with mental health. When we talk ‘health’ what we hope for is that physical and mental health will be seen as equal, because they are.”

Eli’s hosted a series of talks, some with our very own OS GetOutside Champions, to find out about their experiences with mental health and how getting outside helps them.

“For me the outdoors is my space to be free. Being surrounded by fresh air, nature and like-minded people remind me that it is going to be okay. – Eddie Fitzpatrick”

OS GetOutside Champion Eddie Fitzpatrick

Eli found that everyone she spoke to values their mental health, whether they regard themselves to have issues or not. What was clear, was that stepping outside and connecting with nature is so important for everyone’s overall health.

“an escape, its where I go to forget about stuff for an hour or two, to get some fresh air and exercise. – Dwayne Fields ”

The notion of walking and talking has taken a hold over the last year with people realising how important it is to connect with a family member or friend on a walk. This connection has been invaluable as a way to talk through emotions, feelings and situations. Having an ear to listen and speaking your thoughts out loud enables you to put things into perspective. As the saying goes, “a problem shared is a problem halved.”

OS GetOutside Champions David Mellor and family

OS GetOutside Champion David Mellor talks about how he now regularly goes hiking and wild camping with a group of fellow dads who have all opened up about their own issues with mental health.

“It has been incredibly liberating for all of us to share our thoughts and stories. - David Mellor ”

It's clear that everyone interviewed enjoys connecting with people when outside but also nature. One way to connect with the world around you is to go on a sensory walk or you may wish to awaken your senses by wild swimming and reap the benefits it brings.


Mental Health Week

OS GetOutside Champion Yvonne Witter

“Getting outside helps me to relax, switch off and concentrate on the beauty of the things I can see and admire – animals, plants, trees. - Yvonne Witter”

Three of our OS GetOutside Champions have come together by the riverbank to reflect on the importance of the link between mental health and the outdoors. They’ve experienced the challenges of mental health in very different ways, but they’re as one when it comes to realising the importance of spending time outside for our physical, mental and social wellbeing. This is the story of Iwan, Greg and Eli......

If you need to talk or want to learn more about managing mental health, visit https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/

Published: May 11, 2021 Edited: Sep 08, 2021

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