Mental health is a subject that touches everyone, but it's not spoken about nearly enough.
According to mental health charity Mind, approximately 1 in 4 people will experience some form of mental health-related issue each year, which is a pretty eye-opening statistic.
With that in mind, there's a very good chance that either you or someone you know has suffered from some kind of mental health issue.
We strongly feel that it’s time to break the stigma around talking openly about mental health. Why? See below for some mental health facts and statistics that might just raise an eyebrow or two…
The benefits of exercise for mental health
As you can see from the infographic, in the UK, it’s far from uncommon to struggle with some sort of mental health-related issue.
And while psychiatric medication is the most common treatment for mental health problems - there’s an increasing body of evidence that suggests that healthy lifestyle habits can also help alleviate the symptoms of many mental health conditions.
Never underestimate the impact that long-term healthy habits, such as exercise, can have on your life. Most people will benefit in some way from being outside more, getting some exercise and enjoying what the great outdoors has to offer.
Many people all around the world have reported that getting out into the fresh air can do wonders for reducing their stress and anxiety levels.
See the image below to learn more about the link between exercise and spending time outdoors and how it can improve mental health and wellbeing.
The Walk & Talk campaign
Here at Winfields Outdoors, we want to add to the conversation around mental health. It’s more important than ever to help people realise they're not alone - and that there are ways to get help.
That's why we have set up the Winfields Outdoors Walk & Talk campaign. We aim to do our little bit to contribute to the wider conversation around mental health and encourage more people to use what nature has provided as just one method of getting back to a positive headspace.
Over the years, we have spoken with many outdoor enthusiasts and writers so that we can share their perspectives and advice on how getting out and about can boost mental health, whether that be on a solo adventure or with their nearest and dearest. We’ve also asked what their favourite outdoor activities are, in the hopes of inspiring others to get outdoors more often.
Click on the articles below to read a variety of unique takes on how other outdoor enthusiasts make steps to better their mental health by getting outdoors.
Fiona is a fantastic blogger who covers all sorts of topics to do with adventure, travel, fitness and nature. Her expertise in these areas allows her to provide unique perspectives and insights, so if you're a lover of all things outdoors - check out her blog for more.
Fiona has written her own blog post in support of the Walk and Talk campaign. In this article, Fiona shares her advice on how to use spending time outdoors for mental health purposes. She also shares tips on what personally helps her to get into a better head space and feel more relaxed. Read more...
Rach is an outdoor enthusiast who went from being a non-runner to a marathon runner in just 6 months. She's since gone on to run a total of 11 marathons, proving she's a true inspiration to those who aspire to start spending more time outdoors being active.
Rach has written her own blog post in support of the Walk and Talk campaign, where she shares her personal perspective on mental health, as well as advice on how to spend more time outdoors to help relax and de-stress. Read more...
Shell, who is a well-known camping, travel and wellbeing blogger, shared her perspective on how she uses spending time outdoors to achieve mental clarity.
In this article, Shell goes into detail about six easy outdoor meditative practices for de-stressing and relaxing that you’ll be able to try for yourself. Read more…
The Helpful Hiker, a well-known outdoor enthusiast blogger, has created an article that lists all types of advice on how to take time out to thoroughly enjoy family time in nature. Read more…
Jamie, who is known for sharing lifestyle tips and her journey with parenting, has shared her perspective on how important it is to get away from the hustle and bustle every so often.
In this article, Jamie shares her perspective on spending time with loved ones in the great outdoors and how it helps her to switch off and relax. Read more…
Next, we’re joined by the Holland family, who are cherished by many for their unique insights on family life, adventure and travel.
This is an article to encourage others to find enjoyment in the little things, where the Holland family explain how important it is to get outdoors at your own pace.
Discover how they find time to relax in nature, whether that means enjoying a scenic walking route or exploring somewhere new. Read more…
Otis and Us, who share their journey with van life and travel, have shared their favourite walking areas for spending quality time together that helps them to boost their mental health.
So, If you're looking for some new walks to do to clear your head, whether that’s a solo journey or with the family, click here to read more…
Climber and explorer Nigel Vardy talks about his own personal battles with stress and depression and how he's used his travels and time in the great outdoors to battle it. We believe that his words and perspective could well help you too. Read more…
Beth Owen, also known as the writer behind Life as Mum, shares her personal account of battling anxiety and depression.
In this article, Beth goes into detail on how walking, even if it’s just to the shops, has helped her to manage it. Read more…
As well as outdoor writers and bloggers, we're also speaking to various other influencers and organisations about mental health and getting outdoors.
See snippets of the interviews below and click through to read the full thing…
Richard Colwill, SANE
"There is an abundance of evidence linking moderate, regular exercise, such as going for a brisk half-hour walk, with improved mental health. Research has shown that it can be as effective for depression as antidepressants or psychological therapies such as CBT. It can be particularly beneficial if you share outdoor activities with other people, as companionship is important to our sense of wellbeing."
Read the full interview with Richard Colwill from mental health charity, SANE
Shell Robshaw-Bryan, Camping With Style
"Like many, lockdown gave me the opportunity to truly reevaluate my priorities and understand exactly how much exposure to the great outdoors impacts my wellbeing. I've rarely taken time outdoors in beautiful places for granted, but I feel a sense of even more gratitude now I have the freedom to get out and about and spend more time outdoors again.
It's easy to let stress and everyday life sweep us up and distract us, and although many of us may feel a gnawing sense of something not being quite right, of feeling anxious and out of sorts, I've realised that this feeling intensifies if I become disconnected from the natural world.
So, next time you feel out of sorts and can't put your finger on why - I'd urge you to try spending some time outdoors. Whether it's sitting in the town park on your lunch break, a weekend hill walk or a camping trip, the key is, whatever you choose to do, make sure you're totally present.
Stop habitually picking up your phone, try not to think about things that are worrying you, or if you do, acknowledge them and let them go. Focus your attention instead on the little things you can see, touch and smell; blossom on trees, the smell of cut grass, birds chirping, the plants you can see in bloom, the feel of the sunshine or breeze on your face... You might find that grounding yourself does more for your well-being than you think."
Support the Walk & Talk campaign
Our Walk & Talk campaign is open to anyone who would like to support the cause.
If you would like to be a part of breaking down the stigma around mental health, we encourage you to write your own piece on your advice and how you use getting out into nature for your own mental health.
Feel free to tag us and use the Winfields Outdoors official badge to let others know that you’re a part of something great.
Mental health support and resources
If you would like to speak with someone confidentially about any problems you're having, the following organisations can help:
Samaritans was founded in 1953 and now has 201 branches across the UK and the Republic of Ireland. Their caring volunteers will listen to any problems you may be having and are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. They have a phone, email and even a text service. See below for how you can get in touch with them.
Tel: 116 123
Email: [email protected]
The mental health charity, Mind, provides advice and support to anyone experiencing mental health problems. Their helplines are open 9 am to 6 pm, Monday to Friday.
Tel: 0300 123 3393
CALM offers support to men of any age who are feeling down or in crisis, as well as offering support to those bereaved by suicide. They're available 5 pm-midnight, 365 days a year and have phone lines and a webchat.
Nationwide: 0800 585858
London: 0808 802 58 58