Urge your staff to connect with nature for mental health

Mental Health Foundation is holding a national Lockout on World Mental Health Day October 10 from 12pm - 1pm.
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Mental Health Foundation is holding a national Lockout on World Mental Health Day October 10 from 12pm - 1pm.

Spend an hour with nature on World Mental Health Day.

The Mental Health Foundation is asking Kiwis to connect with nature for good mental health and wellbeing.

October 10 - 16 is Mental Health Awareness Week (MHAW) and to get New Zealanders thinking about how easy it is to schedule in some quality time with nature, the Foundation is holding a special nation-wide MHAW Lockout on October 10 which is world mental health day.

From 12pm to 1pm, Kiwis will head outside and discover how happiness and wellbeing blooms when you start to connect with the nature that surrounds you every day.

The foundation's chief executive Shaun Robinson says they will hold the MHAW Lockout rain or shine.

"At noon, turn off your computer, down your tools, shut up shop and head outside to explore the world around you."

"You don't need to strap on your hiking boots or your skis, just go and explore the blue and green spaces you work and live around every day. It's about making time to feel naturally happy and it's easier than you might think," he says.

Nearly 50 per cent of New Zealanders will experience a mental health problem in their lifetime, and depression is set to overcome heart diseases as the biggest global health burden by 2020.

"Kiwis are increasingly stressed, leading sedentary lifestyles, sleeping less, working more and have increasing levels of debt," Robinson says.

"There are simple things we can all do that will make a huge difference to the mental health and wellbeing of all New Zealanders."

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Research has shown that spending time with nature is great for mental and physical health.

Evidence proves it makes people happier, decreases feelings of depression and anxiety, improves concentration, buffers against stress, makes lives meaningful and reduces health inequalities related to poverty.

"Spending quality time with nature will support your staff to feel happier and more productive."

"Nature is the daisies growing through the cracks in the footpath, the trees on your walk to work, the sky outside your window," Robinson says.

Go to mhaw.nz for ideas, more information and a range of events to celebrate the awareness week.

 - Stuff

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