It’s Mental Health Awareness Week and we’re proud that National Lottery funding supports projects which are making such a positive difference in peoples’ lives, improving mental health and wellbeing.
The theme this year is Nature, because research shows that connecting with nature and being outdoors is an effective way of protecting our wellbeing. We’ve gathered information from some of the amazing organisations we fund which are sharing tips for improving your mental health or signposting places to go to for support.
Extern was awarded National Lottery funding to create an outside garden area at Kinnahalla Youth Village, outside Hilltown, which is providing a relaxing environment for children and young people to help reduce anxiety and improve well-being. They are highlighting the importance of nature to encourage people to go outside and enjoy wildlife and green spaces.
Their five top tips are:
- Seek out green spaces
- Use relaxation and mindfulness
- Interact with wildlife
- Get involved in gardening, conservation and farming
- Be creative
Read more here.
Extern also use National Lottery funding to run an online counselling service within the Northern Trust area. Contact Extern about the service on 028 9592 4664.
TAMHI (Tackling Awareness of Mental Health Issues) is using their National Lottery funding to run a mental health and wellbeing development programme with Belfast schools and sports organisations. The programme is supporting groups to promote positive attitudes towards mental health and create an environment where people feel comfortable to seek help.
This week TAMHI is raising awareness of mental health and promoting their free mental health training for sports clubs. Find out more here.
Parenting NI is using National Lottery funding to design and develop an online Parenting Hub which will provide a 24/7 resource of support for families from across Northern Ireland. During Mental Health Awareness Week they are sharing a range of mental health resources and challenges for parents.
Community Calling is using a National Lottery grant to run an online system which matches people who need urgent support to local community groups and services who can help them. They are raising awareness of this service which includes providing mental health support.
You can request support here.
The Big Lunch
The National Lottery Community Fund proudly works in partnership with Eden Project Communities on The Big Lunch, which is a community initiative that celebrates connections reduces loneliness and isolation. Find out more here.
The Big Lunch is sharing mindfulness tools which can help us manage our thoughts and feelings. They shared an illustration with ideas from a discussion they had at a recent mental health workshop.
Cancer Focus Northern Ireland
Cancer Focus is using National Lottery funding to support children and young people when a mum, dad, guardian or grandparent has cancer. The organisation is encouraging everyone affected by cancer to connect with nature to improve their mental health and wellbeing.
They have shared a list of benefits of connecting with nature:
- improve your mood
- reduce feelings of stress or anger
- help you take time out and feel more relaxed
- improve your physical health
- improve your confidence and self-esteem
- help you be more active
- help you make new connections
If you have been affected by cancer and would like some support, please get in contact with Cancer Focus on firstname.lastname@example.org or 02890 663281.
Rural Support is using a National Lottery grant to tackle rural isolation and loneliness among older men in farming communities across Northern Ireland. They run a helpline for farmers and farming families – if you need support call 0800 138 1678.
Rural Support also wants to remind people that simple actions like smiling and being kind can make a big difference to people, especially if they are going through a difficult time.
These are just a few of the organisations we fund that are supporting mental health and wellbeing who are taking part in Mental Health Awareness Week.
To find out what other organisations are doing and to join in the conversation on social media search for #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek or visit www.mentalhealth.org.uk/mhaw.