Connect with nature on a regular basis

22 September 2021

The Mental Health Foundation (MHF)

In 1949, the Mental Health Research Fund was established by the scientist Derek Richter, after the Second World War and the foundation of the NHS. Derek Richter's aim was to address the apparent imbalance in physical and mental health funding.

He set up a research laboratory to treat soldiers suffering from shellshock, which is now recognised as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Derek had a particular interest in how mental health is shaped by experiences or by the environment we live in - an approach which still informs the Mental Health Foundation's research to this very day.

The Mental Health Foundation (MHF) was formed in 1973, as a result of the Mental Health Research Fund being merged with the Mental Health Trust. Their aim is to discover and address the sources of mental health problems to ensure people and communities can thrive.

For the last 21 years, the MHF has organised and hosted Mental Health Awareness Week, during which time the event has grown to become one of the biggest awareness weeks across the UK and globally. The week provides an opportunity for people to talk about all aspects of mental health, with a focus on providing help and advice, however, this should not be confined to that week alone.

To find out more about the MHF and the work they do, please visit:

Connect with nature

It has become clear that access to nature is critical for our mental health. Research carried out by the MHF showed walking outside was one of the top coping strategies, with 45% reporting that being in green spaces had a positive effect on mental health.

Inspiring more people to connect with nature in new ways will enable them to notice the impact this has on their mental health. Furthermore, convincing all decision makers that access to, and quality of, nature is a mental health and social justice issue as well as an environmental one is key.

1. Experience nature

Take time to recognise and grow your connection with nature. Take a moment to notice and celebrate nature in your daily life. You might be surprised by what you notice.

2. Share nature

Take a photo, video or sound recording and share the connections you make on social media to inspire others.

3. Talk about nature

Use the MHF's tips, school packs, research and policy guides to discuss in your family, school, workplace and community on how you can help encourage people to find new ways to connect with nature in your local environment.

This article has been reproduced with the kind permission of the third party who provides the WPA Employee Assistance Programme (EAP)/Health and Wellbeing Helpline.

Please note: The EAP/Health and Wellbeing Helpline is not available to family member(s) under 16 years of age. It is optional on Precision Corporate Healthcare and our large corporate schemes so please check your WPA literature carefully to see if you have this benefit.