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New 'signposting' service launched during Mental Health Awareness Week 2021

By Alasdair Fraser

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The Paths For All initiative recognises the benefits of nature and walking outdoors for both physical and mental health.
The Paths For All initiative recognises the benefits of nature and walking outdoors for both physical and mental health.

A new service directing individuals and communities to trusted mental health support has been launched during Mental Health Awareness Week.

The new signposting resource, launched by The Highland Community Planning Partnership’s (HCPP's) mental health delivery group, aims to raise awareness of where people can get help in a crisis.

With Highland Council a key partner, the service is also designed to show people how to develop the skills and confidence necessary to enable more open and frequent conversations about mental health.

The launch is timely, given broader efforts this week to focus on the issue during Mental Health Awareness Week from yesterday to Sunday May 16

The HCPP view the occasion as "a great opportunity for reflection, to talk and to support one another during a mentally testing period" in our lives.

Councillor Linda Munro, chair of Highland Council’s health, social care and well-being committee, said: “This year’s Mental Health Awareness theme of ‘nature’ is a fitting focus as we begin to recover from lockdown.

Cllr Linda Munro.
Cllr Linda Munro.

"Connecting with nature can help us to feel calm and bring a bit more perspective to things and, while it can’t solve all problems, it can promote positive emotions.

“Studies indicate that a substantial number of UK adults experience improved mental health by being immersed in nature.

"Many people do not live within easy access of green, leafy spaces, but we do all live under the same sky with fresh winds to blow away the cobwebs, pictures to be found in billowing cloud formations and starry skies that go on forever.

"All of these we have and everyone should have equal access to the best mental health advice and support available.”

She added: “By supporting and recognising Mental Health Awareness Week, we are able to increase our understanding of Mental Health and its impact on our lives.

"Now more than ever, many more people are experiencing additional stresses and uncertainty because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"This means many of us across the region are likely to be feeling the effects of reduced mental health for the first time.

"It is vitally important that people know where to access reliable resources that can offer reassurance and help keep people safe in time of crisis or when their mental health and well-being requires support.”

Further information on resources is available here, while further information on connecting with nature for mental health and wellbeing as part of Green Health Week can be found here.

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