Simplyhealth, Denplan’s parent company, has partnered with McFly musician Harry Judd and the Mental Health Foundation on a new campaign to shine a light on how connecting with the natural world can support our mental wellbeing.
The Take A Breath campaign – launched during Mental Health Awareness Week 2021 – will see Simplyhealth provide the nation with the tools and resources to better understand their mental wellbeing and embrace the positive benefits of nature on their psychological and emotional health.
Mental ill health on the rise
Unfortunately, mental ill health is common, with rates of anxiety and depression on the rise. This has been amplified by the ongoing pandemic, which has dramatically changed the way we work, live and socialise. For instance, a survey undertaken by Simplyhealth in 2020 revealed that 42 per cent of UK adults felt their mental health had suffered since the outbreak of Covid-19.
However, there is an abundance of research which shows that the natural world plays a significant role in supporting mental health, from reducing stress and easing anxiety to increasing positivity and inspiring creativity.
New downloadable ‘Take A Breath’ e-book
To help people to look after their mental health, Simplyhealth, in collaboration with Harry Judd and the Mental Health Foundation, has created a new e-book titled ‘Take A Breath’, which is packed full of ideas, exercises and activities to inspire readers to connect with nature.
The e-book is free to download from the Simplyhealth website and includes personal anecdotes and advice from mental health champion Harry Judd, as well as insight from the Mental Health Foundation into the link between nature and wellbeing.
For each download of the e-book, Simplyhealth will donate to the Blue Prescribing Project, a joint project between the Mental Health Foundation and the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust. This initiative aims to tackle poor mental health through hands-on nature-based activities and will see 300 people needing mental health intervention given access to wetlands nature.
Harry Judd says, “I’ve suffered with OCD and anxiety throughout my adult life, to the point that I was frightened to even leave my house. In those moments, I felt scared to share how I was feeling. Anxiety can be so isolating and sometimes makes you lose yourself. When I finally found the courage to reach out and ask for help, I felt so relieved – it was like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders.
“It’s easy to forget that our mental wellbeing is every bit as important as our physical health. If you break a bone, you seek medical help, yet many people are hesitant to ask for support with their mental wellbeing. I completely understand the courage it takes to speak up but reaching out for help was the best thing I ever did.
“Embracing fitness and the outdoors has also been a fundamental part of my personal mental health battle. Whether it is in the park, at the beach or in the garden, I believe that spending time in nature, embracing the fresh air and getting our bodies moving can benefit our mental wellbeing and redress the balance in our lives.
“I’m supporting Simplyhealth’s Take A Breath campaign as I want to help others who may be going through similar experiences with their mental health. As part of the e-book, I’ve created a nature-inspired activity checklist with the hope of giving people some everyday ideas for making the most of nature and the great outdoors.”
Catherine Rutland, clinical director at Denplan, says, “Looking after our mental health and wellbeing isn’t always easy. However, there are actions we can take to help maintain balance, and a vast body of research supports the idea that spending quality time in and around nature reduces stress and increases feelings of positivity.
“Through the Take A Breath campaign, we hope to provide information, activities and tips that are fun and inspirational. Our aim is to encourage people to experiment with what works for them and their circumstances. It’s time to seize the power of nature and take a step – however small – to nurture and protect our mental wellbeing.”
Mark Rowland, CEO at the Mental Health Foundation says, “Nature is so central to our psychological and emotional health, that it is almost impossible to realise good mental health for all without a greater connection to the natural world.
“At the Mental Health Foundation, we know that by working with organisations like Simplyhealth, we can reach more people to help them experience the benefits of our natural surroundings. With the challenges of the last year, there could not be a more important time to understand the links between nature and mental health.”
How Simplyhealth can help
The way people think and, more importantly, talk about mental health has changed for the better, but too many people still suffer in silence. For instance, one in four will be affected by a mental illness, yet almost two-thirds will never seek help.
Through its healthcare plans, Simplyhealth offers access to 24/7 online GPs, physio, counselling and advice, in addition to coverage for a variety of everyday health and wellbeing needs, from £7.50 per month. The free to use SimplyMe app is also a great tool for tracking mental and physical wellbeing. With daily mood and emotional health check ins, it shows users how to make simple changes to their normal routine that will support their overall wellbeing in the long term.
During Mental Health Awareness Week, Simplyhealth will donate a further £5 to the Mental Health Foundation for every 20-minute walk that is recorded on the SimplyMe app.
To find out more about Denplan, visit www.denplan.co.uk
The SimplyMe app is available to download via the App Store or Google Play store.