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Nature's role in mental health celebrated

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 9/10/2016

Organisers of Mental Health Awareness Week are hoping to get a message out about how good nature makes people feel.

More than 150 events and activities will be held during the week, with the theme of how connecting with nature benefits health and wellbeing. Monday is World Mental Health Day.

Research proves spending time in nature improves physical and mental health, makes us happier, reduces feelings of depression, anxiety and stress and makes our lives more meaningful, says the Mental Health Foundation (MHF), which has organised the week.

On Monday at a "Lockout" event people are being encouraged to stop what they are doing from noon to 1pm and head outside to have a look at their surroundings.

"At noon, turn off your computer, down your tools, shut up shop and head outside to explore the world around you," says MHF chief executive Shaun Robinson.

"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."

There are already thousands of entries to the Photo a Day Challenge on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

The MHF says it couldn't be happier to see that the challenge is inspiring people to go outside and reconnect with the nature they live and work among every day.

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