Mental Health Awareness Week 2021
Today marks the launch of Mental Health Awareness Week, the UK’s national week to raise awareness of mental health. The week, which is hosted by the Mental Health Foundation, is in its 21st year and runs from 10-16 May.
This year, the theme for the week is ‘Nature’. Across the country, people will be celebrating the mental health benefits of being around nature in their local community in a range of digital and creative ways.
How can Public Partnerships support the mental health benefits of Nature?
In recent days, the ONS reported measures of depression being 40% higher in March 2021, compared to the previous November. As our society reels from the mental health effects of the covid pandemic, we have to ask ourselves how we can do more to help?
As a company, we are passionate about how digital solutions can increase choice and control for all. Much more than just a technology provider, we deliver solutions to help empower and enable people to be more independent, improve people’s overall wellbeing and help their mental health.
Personal Health Budgets
Under the NHS’s model of Universal Personalised Care, Personal Health Budgets (PHBs) are a way to give an individual more choice and control over their health and care. In fact, evidence demonstrates a particularly positive effect on those with mental health conditions, as well as being cost effective overall.
PPL’s Virtual Wallet solution supports the delivery of PHBs, by allowing care and support to be purchased via an online marketplace of local and national providers, with full visibility of how funds are spent. As well as fully supporting choice and control, it has two key benefits for individuals with mental health conditions:
- It allows individuals to purchase agreed, non-traditional services and items via the marketplace, such as personal training sessions or gardening supplies
- It allows individuals to self-serve when they are able, and for the account to switch seamlessly to a professional-managed account, when they are unwell.
Social prescribing and Community Activities
“Social Prescribing” connects people to community groups and statutory services for practical and emotional support, and it is often used for individuals who need support with their mental health. Emerging evidence shows that social prescribing initiatives, such as walking groups, gardening and other nature-based activities improve individuals’ mental health.
In the Mental Health Foundation’s manifesto “Making Prevention Happen”, one of the 5 key demands is to widen access to Social Prescribing, including those relating to access to nature. What better way to do that than providing CCGs, Link workers, Local Authorities and individuals with a single, online directory of social prescribing and community activities available in the local area?
Spreading the word
Mark Rowland Chief Executive of the Mental Health Foundation said: “Mental Health Awareness Week has grown to be one of the biggest awareness weeks in the UK. This year the theme is on nature and its central role for our mental health. Since the beginning of the pandemic, millions of us turned to nature to help us get through lockdowns and our research shows that good mental health depends on us being able to connect with nature in some way and its power in both prevention of and recovery from poor mental health.
“During the week, we want to hear millions of people’s stories about how the natural world has supported their mental health.
“We also want to highlight the huge disparities between who is and who isn’t able to access nature. We want the week to explore how everyone across the UK can connect with nature and experience the mental health benefits wherever they live.”