Connect to Nature to Improve Mental Health Urges Dame Julie Walters
In the Harry Potter film series, Dame Julie Walters played Weasley matriarch Molly Weasley, a loving, caring, and motherly character who always looks out for everyone.
Since the United Kingdom’s Mental Health Awareness Week is approaching, Walters has shown us that she is somewhat like her caring Weasley counterpart because she has written a letter on behalf of the Mental Health Foundation urging people to spend “quality time” in nature to battle poor mental health.
📣Ahead of #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek 10-16 May 2021 ‘Dame Julie Walters is encouraging people to connect with nature to improve their mental health’ 🌳 Read more in @BelTel 👉https://t.co/y7LQFVESdi pic.twitter.com/GRjMvrL5fJ
— Mental Health Fdn (@mentalhealth) May 6, 2021
After a difficult year of lockdowns, this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week is focusing on nature because research has shown the significant positive impact nature has had on people’s lives during the pandemic.
Going for walks outside was one of our top coping strategies, and 45% of us reported being in green spaces had been vital for our mental health. Websites [that] showed footage from webcams of wildlife saw hits increase by over 2000%. Wider studies also found that during lockdowns, people not only spent more time in nature but were noticing it more [too].
The Mental Health Foundation is encouraging the public to “recognise and grow your connection with nature” by taking part in activities throughout May such as doing half an hour of exercise every day or keeping a nature journal.
Walters, who has also campaigned on other issues, including dementia research funding, wrote in her letter about the importance of looking after your mental health and how nature can help with this.
Spending quality time in and around nature can help reduce stress and help increase feelings of positivity, and you don’t have to be surrounded by fields or have to take a walk in the wilderness to feel the benefits.
Try to stop and appreciate those little bits of nature around you that you may not have noticed before, a houseplant, the flowers in a neighbour’s window, or the sound of birdsong.
Walters isn’t the first of the Harry Potter cast to touch on the importance of looking after mental health. Back in 2019, Emma Thompson (Sybill Trelawny) shared advice on everyday strategies to improve mental health, and Ralph Fiennes (Lord Voldemort), Matthew Lewis (Neville Longbottom), and Stephen Fry (narrator of the Harry Potter audiobooks) all shared their experiences on mental health during COVID-19.
Mental Health Awareness Week is taking place in the UK between May 10 and 16. What will you be doing to spread the word?