Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT), the conservation charity which runs Castle Espie Wetland Centre, in partnership with leading mental health charity the Mental Health Foundation (MHF), have created a guide to help people improve their mental health and wellbeing by getting out and connecting with winter wetland nature.
Launched on World Wetlands Day, the booklet entitled ‘Wetlands and Wellbeing: A Guide for Winter’ includes practical tips, ideas and inspiration to help people get the most out of their local wetlands during the long ‘locked down’ winter months. Wetlands can be dramatic and changeable, wild, watery and full of life and during winter there’s no better place to enjoy nature. There are also creative ideas on expressing a love for nature through writing, music and art.
There’s something special about water, with its power to inspire and calm us. *Research shows that spending time in ‘blue’, watery places in particular, can bring higher benefits than green spaces in improving how you are feeling, reducing both negative thoughts and levels of stress.This year in particular, people have been connecting with nature in new and interesting ways and realising how vital it is for their mental health and wellbeing.
Jolie Goodman from the MHF said:
“For millions of people, myself included, access to nature has been an essential way to manage the impact of life in lockdown on our mental health. This guide is an opportunity to ensure that more people can experience the benefits of the natural world for their wellbeing. This is echoed in the choice of Nature as the theme for Mental Health Awareness Week this May”.
Hannah Clifford from WWT added:
“We hope the guide will inspire people to connect with wetlands and ‘blue’ spaces in more meaningful ways. Making a deep emotional connection with nature is more beneficial than exposure alone”.
“The guide helps boost this emotional connection by giving practical tips, such as photographing spectacular ice patterns on frozen waters, getting your waterproofs on and jumping in puddles or listening to the trickling of a meandering stream”.
“Our WWT wetland centres are ideal places to take in the fresh air and appreciate what the great outdoors have to offer, but with our centres currently closed we want to inspire people to experience their local streams, ponds, lakes and other watery places and if that isn’t possible, give them ideas to bring the outside in, through creativity”.
The booklet is available to download from WWT and is part of a dedicated online wetland wellbeing hub that people can access for more inspiration and ideas to improve their wellbeing through connecting with nature, in particular, ‘blue’ spaces. This is hub is regularly updated with new content and ideas.
For more info visit wwt.org.uk/wellbeing
Media enquiries to:
Notes to Editors:
The Wildlfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT) are the UK’s leading wetland conservation charity. We conserve, restore and create wetlands, save wetland wildlife, and inspire everyone to value the amazing things healthy wetlands do for people and nature.
WWT Wetland Centres
WWT has nine wetland centres at Arundel (Hampshire), Caerlaverock ( Dumfries, Scotland), Castle Espie (County Down, Northern Ireland), Llanelli (Carmarthenshire, Wales), London (at Barnes), Martin Mere (Lancashire), Slimbridge (Gloucestershire), Washington (Tyne & Wear) and Welney (Norfolk).
All centres are currently closed but please keep an eye on the website and social media for when they re-open. WWT also has a wetland site at Steart Marshes (Somerset). It is an open access site so cannot be closed but people are encouraged to read our latest statement about this site before visiting.
About the Mental Health Foundation
The Mental Health Foundation is the leading charity for everyone’s mental health.With prevention at the heart of what we do, we aim to find and address the sources of mental health problems so that people and communities can thrive.We are also the home of Mental Health Awareness Week.This takes place from 10-16 May this year and the theme is “Nature and the Natural Environment”. For more information about the Foundation visit www.mentalhealth.org.uk