Mental Health Awareness Week: 10th - 16th May 2021

Mental health is a really important topic and covid lockdown and related impacts have further brought attention to the need to support both physical and mental health. Loss of confidence with activities such as climbing and socialising is a very common result of these last months and knowing there is support and advice to return, is really important. It is Mental Health Awareness Week 10th-16th May and we at NICAS are keen to help raise awareness of support and resources available both within our community and wider.

Evidence shows that physical activity of any kind can help people with mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety. Climbing involves concentration and thought as well as physical exercise which helps keep you focused, clears your mind of outside worries and also builds your confidence and self-esteem, alleviating the symptoms of some mental health problems. (Source: NHS Inform)

Mental Health Awareness Week 2021 resources

MHAW21Mental Health Foundation
The theme for Mental Health Awareness week from the MHF is "nature". Resources are available on their website including top tips for connecting with nature. Climbing outdoors is of course a way to be in nature.

Mental Health UK
There are some great resources available on Mental Health UK's website to support Mental Health Awareness Week including downloads, social media tiles to share and promote Mental Health Awareness Week based on ‘5 Ways to Wellbeing’, a set of pillars which are key to improving our mental health. They’re geared around themes of social connectedness, physical activity, awareness, learning, and giving. Mental Health Awareness Week

Mind's website also has various downloads to help promote the Mentah Health Awareness Week campaign. They also have an Awareness in Sport training option that might be of interest.

BBC "Own It" has curated a number of helpful resources including how to help a friend, and taking a digital stroll to connect with nature. BBC Headspace also has many resources within a "mental health toolkit" to help people with their own mental health and the health of others.

Mental Health and NICAS

We recently published details of a Teenage Mental Health climbing project being run by ROKT Foundation in Brighouse which will use NICAS Level 1 as part of their initiative to help participants. Details here.

One of our NICAS Coach Development Team members, Juliet, recently talked about the anxieties of returning to wall after lockdown on her instagram page. There was uncertainty coming out of lockdown, both for her students and herself as a coach. Thanks for letting us share your experiences (nb: if you can see a picture but can't find the text on instagram, you may need to change the zoom settings on your browser as we discovered ourselves here!)

Resources, stories and information in our sector

Climb Alongside Mental Health
Resources, stories and support for using climbing to help mental health is available on the CAM website. Climbing walls are able to sign up to offer referred climbing sessions for people who referred via a healthcare professional e.g GP, therapist, counsellor. Look out and support CAM on social media channels too. #WeveGotYouSpotted #CAMclimbing

Blackdog Outdoors
There are lots of useful resources on the Blackdog Outdoors website. "The effects of outdoor activities can include stress reduction, improved mood, improved self-esteem and improved health and general well-being. The real challenge lies in promoting the idea of “green exercise” to those that will benefit from it, providing opportunities for those people to take up outdoor activities, and to support and encourage them as they set out on their individual adventures. We have established Blackdog Outdoors to provide this service." (source: Blackdog Outdoors)

Sport and Recreation Alliance
The SRA has a mental health charter and offers various support and training to members. Some useful information can be found on their website including organisations that can help businesses and individuals, training including mental health first aid, and other topics.

Head Outside Awards
New for 2021, the Head Outside Awards have been launched to celebrate the individuals and organisations that champion mental health in our natural world through adventure and outdoor education. The awards are still being developed further and you can find out more about becoming involved via the awards website.

We'll have further resources to share here about this important topic in the coming days. If you have a story or information to share to support mental health and in particular use of climbing as mental health support, please contact us.

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