Nature is all around us: even in the busiet of cities there can be parks, green areas, trees, birds, insects and more. Noticing nature can help us be more mindful and give our mood a boost.

Mental Health Awareness Week – 10 to 16 May 2021

The theme of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week is ‘Connect with nature’.

Litter picking, planting trees, group walks, trips to the countryside or coast, growing seeds, exercising outside, practising mindfulness, photography groups… if you’re planning to mark MHAW this year, the possibilities are endless! Many of us have appreciated nature more during Covid-19 restrictions, and there are lots of ways we can still enjoy the great outdoors and boost our wellbeing as the rules are changing.

MindWell ‘Connect with Nature’ campaign

MindWell will be running a week long campaign on Twitter @MindWellLeeds #ConnectWithNature talking about why nature is good for our mental health and highlighting all the ways that you can get involved during the week including events and activities.

We’ll have different themes each day and new resources to help you take small steps to improving your wellbeing through nature.

We’ll also be promoting local gardening and outdoor groups, green spaces in Leeds and how you can join in from home.

What’s happening in Leeds for Mental Health Awareness Week

Events and activities

New Wortley Community Centre is planning a busy Mental Health Awareness Week including:

  • a photography competition with a nature theme asking local people to take pictures of natural areas or objects that have helped them or mean a lot to them. Follow them on Twitter for updates: @/NewWortleyCC
  • a nature and mental health theme for all the groups they run. They’ll be heading to the allotment and creating a piece of art to reflect mental health journeys made out of natural materials.
  • a pop-up in front of the centre on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 12 noon to 2pm, with resources about mindfulness, coping strategies and their group flyers. There will also be space to chat to local people about mental health and letting them know what the centre has to offer.

Awe Walks – Leeds Dads will be inviting dads and partners to take a socially distanced walk around a park in Leeds. The aim is for them to enjoy springtime, to feel a sense of awe at nature and allow themselves to be taken by how great nature around us can be. The dads and partners will then photograph this on disposable cameras, and share their images in an online exhibition. For more info please contact leedsdads@gmail.com

Walk with Carers Leeds – carers aged over 60 are invited to join a walk to explore beautiful parks together in Leeds. 10.30am to 12 noon on Monday 10 May in Middleton Park and Thursday 10 June in Roundhay Park. You can join either or both walks. Call 0113 380 4300 or email clare.mcneill@carersleeds.org.uk to book a place.

MindWell Refresh event – mHabitat and Volition will be hosting a live event to celebrate the MindWell rebuild funded by Leeds Better Care Fund. This will be an opportunity to find out how the partnership is working together to improve MindWell through co-design and take a tour of the refreshed website. There will also be a panel discussion about the use of digital to support people experiencing mental health difficulties.3pm to 4pm on 13 May. Sign up through EventBrite

Mentally Healthy Leeds will be having a nature theme with all their groups during the Mental Health Awareness Week. Groups, including men’s groups, women’s groups, cooking, walking and meditation, run Monday to Friday. Find out more on the Touchstone website or contact Mentally Healthy Leeds: call 0113 248 4880 or email MHL@touchstonesupport.org.uk, open 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, or follow them on Twitter @MHealthyLEEDS

Anti Stigma Leeds Champions are holding events all week inspired by nature and the 5 ways to wellbeing:

  • Monday 12noon to 1pm online using Zoom. Take Notice: Get to know more about growing, gardening and how this can support positive mental health
  • Tuesday 1pm onwards at Roundhay Park. Be Active: Stretch your legs with the Anti Stigma Champions. Great chance to connect with others and nature to improve your mental health and be active
  • Wednesday 1pm to 2pm online using Zoom. Learn: about nature in a fun way this afternoon and join the Anti Stigma Champions in a quiz! #ConnectWithNature from the comfort of your own home
  • Thursday 12noon to 1pm online using Zoom. Connect: Enjoy some laughter by joining the Anti Stigma Champions for The Erica Hour at this music and soul singalong today
  • Saturday, time and location to be confirmed: Give: Get involved in the community litter pick with the Anti Stigma Champions

For information or Zoom links for any Anti Stigma Leeds events, email  mhl@touchstonesupport.org.uk or follow them on Twitter @AntiStigmaLeeds or download their Mental Health Awareness Week flyer.

Aireborough Voluntary Service for the Elderly is putting together some sunflower growing packs to give out and encourage activities around nature. They will have some wellbeing packs to give out and Facebook posts linking into the sessions, which all help with mental health, especially their short strolls which start on 11 May. Contact Ella info@avsed.org.uk   / ella@avsed.org.uk

Battle Scars Self-harm Support Charity is celebrating this year’s theme of ‘Nature’ by asking their social media followers and members to take a photo of something related to nature then post it online. More details on their Facebook page @BattleScarsSelfHarm, then see Facebook or Twitter @BattleScars_SH during the week for pictures!

The Market Place is marking the week by asking their staff to share connections with nature, the benefits it has, and beautiful snapshots on Twitter @MarketPlaceLds, Facebook @themarketplaceleeds or Instagram @themarketplaceleeds

Running Seeds is offering free guided walks on the Farsley to Apperley Bridge loop all week. Find out more on Facebook @RunningSeeds or see gets details and book a place on their website.

Our 7 nature themes and resources

Plan your week’s activities with our Connect with Nature 7 day planner

Monday 10 May

Tuesday 11 May

Wednesday 12 May

Thursday 13 May

Friday 14 May

Saturday 15 May

Sunday 16 May