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Mental Health Awareness Week at Christ Church - part I

Written by Clare Hayns, posted on Monday, May 10, 2021

In the first of two College Life blogs inspired by Mental Health Awareness Week, Revd Clare Hayns, Christ Church’s Welfare Coordinator and College Chaplain, discusses the importance of taking the time to focus on our mental well-being.   

This week (May 10th-17th) is Mental Health Awareness Week where we focus on this vitally important aspect of our well-being.  

A walk in the bluebells with Moses, Bladon. Photo: Clare HaynsThe theme for the week this year is ‘Nature’. The past year has been incredibly difficult for so many people, and the impact of the pandemic on our mental well-being has been profound. Whenever I ask someone what got them through the long months of lockdown, the answer is often that they enjoyed and appreciated the time for long walks. Walking became about the only way we could socialise, and as we walked many of us found that this helped our mental and well as our physical health.  

The temptation as things begin to open up again is to throw ourselves back into our busy lives and to forget to take time to appreciate the beauty of creation as it bursts into spring. We have put together a programme of events for Mental Health Awareness Week and encourage everyone to engage in some way by coming along to an event or by getting outside to experience and share pictures that will encourage us all.  

We are fortunate at Christ Church to have the meadows and beautiful gardens. The Garden team have organised two tours this week so we can appreciate nature right here. We are aware that so many of us are still scattered around the world and so if you can’t join us on one of the tours, we would love to see images of nature from wherever you are.  

The three Mental Health Awareness Week challenges are: 

  • Experience nature: take time to recognise and grow your connection with nature during the week. Take a moment to notice and celebrate nature in your daily life. You might be surprised by what you notice! 
  • Share nature: Take a photo, video or sound recording and share the connections you’ve made during the week, to inspire others. Share these using the hashtags #ChristChurchTogether #ConnectWithNature #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek 
  • Join in with one of the events taking place this week, such as the garden tours, community BBQ, student yoga, Zoom staff coffee morning or Candlelit Compline.  

Alongside this, remember that if you are struggling and need someone to talk to about your mental health, then please reach out to a member of the Welfare team, to your GP, or to a friend or colleague.  

Click here for the programme of activities that will be taking place in Christ Church during Mental Health Awareness Week.

There is something to be wondered at in all of Nature’ – Aristotle