Mental Health Awareness Week

Next week marks the return of Mental Health Awareness Week. Supported by Wandsworth Council it will focus on the theme of Body Image – how we think and feel about our bodies.

From an early age we are bombarded with images of what an ‘ideal’ body should look like, but body image issues can affect us at any age and research has found that greater anxiety about our physique is associated with lower levels of physical activity.

“So, during Mental Health Awareness Week we will make the case that the distress related to poor body image and the related mental health problems can be prevented,” said Mark Rowland, the CEO of the Mental Health Foundation which organises the event.

One way to help prevent problems is to get physical. Research has shown that participation in regular physical activity can reduce stress and anxiety while increasing self-esteem and improving people’s quality of life.

As part of its commitment to Mental Health Awareness Week Wandsworth Council is giving away free guest passes to Wandsworth Council’s gym facilities. Simply click here to register for your pass. Download anytime from Monday, 13 May to Sunday, 19 May and passes are valid for one month.

However, if you are not a gym person, then going for a walk or any other outdoor activity can make a difference. Wandsworth is one of the greenest of London boroughs and over the next few months more than 250 park-related events will be taking place as people are encouraged to enjoy their open spaces under the #LoveParksWandsworth banner.

One of the biggest events will be the annual Walking Out of Darkness taking place on Saturday, 18 May starting in Battersea Park. Organised by the charity CLASP it is aimed at ending the stigma around mental illness and people are invited to fundraise for any mental health or suicide prevention charity. For more details visit: www.walkingoutofdarkness.com

It will cap a week of walks in our area. You pay for Walking Out of Darkness but all the others are free and you just can just turn up on the day. These include:

A great way to get fit without breaking the bank is to go for a walk around your local park or check out all the free trim trails and outdoor gyms in the borough here.

‘Five Steps to improving your health and wellbeing’, there are loads of ways you can help improve your mental health here is a snap shot of things taking place in the borough:
2. Connect
Join a local Friends Group – a great way to help out inyour local community, make friends and increase your time outside
Attend one of the many Wandsworth Arts Fringe events taking place across the borough
3. Keep learning
Bolingbroke Bowls Club at Wandsworth Common hosts free taster sessions for all levels every Monday and Wednesday afternoon from 2-4pm – why not try it out!
Come along to a ‘Knit and Natter’ session at Southfields Library every Tuesday from 12-1.30pm. #gettoknowyourlibrary
4. Give to others
Volunteer at Thrive – a charity dedicated to using gardening to bring about positive changes in the lives of people living with disabilities or ill health, or are isolated, disadvantaged or vulnerable.
5. Be mindful
Sign up to Putney School of Art and Design’s free art course at Wilditch Community Centre starting Monday 13 May or at St Margaret’s Church starting Thursday 16 May.

Free Art Courses at Wilditch Community Centre

Free Art Courses at St Margaret's Church

Follow us on social media for all the latest tips, activities and events taking place to help improve your mental/physical health and wellbeing @LoveParksWandsworth and @Wandbc and by using the hashtag #LoveParksWandsworth

For more details of all things related to Mental Health Awareness Week and Love Parks Wandsworth please visit: www.enablelc.org/loveparks follow us @LoveParksWandsworth and use hashtag #LoveParksWandsworth #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek

About Wandsworth Council

Wandsworth Council has one of the highest number of council-owned parks and open spaces in inner London with over 1,600 acres of parks, commons and open spaces – almost five times the size of Hyde Park.

These range from Battersea Park – one of the largest and most-used in London – to small open spaces much loved by their local communities. The council is committed to making Wandsworth one of inner London’s greenest boroughs.

Getting help

You can find more information about mental health and how to look after your mental health at: www.mentalhealth.org.uk/your-mental-health

If you need someone to talk to urgently and in confidence – the Samaritans offer emotional support 24 hours a day on 08457 90 90 90. You can also email them at jo@samaritans.org. For more details go to: www.samaritans.org

For more information on Mental Health Awareness Week visit: www.mentalhealth.org.uk/campaigns/mental-health-awareness-week

 

 

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