This week (10-16 May) is Mental Health Awareness Week and the theme outlined by the Mental Health Foundation for 2021 is ‘nature'. During the height of lockdown in 2020 Jon Cruddas MP contacted the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care urging the government to put in place a comprehensive and strategic plan for mental health support.

Millions of people are now facing financial insecurity as a by-product of the pandemic and many will have been adversely affected by prolonged spells of social isolation.

Jon Cruddas explained: "the Covid-19 job losses tend to be low paid work that cannot be carried out remotely, shop floor workers, hospitality staff, cleaners etc. As these jobs disappear, I fear that many families across Dagenham and Rainham will find themselves in financial crisis – the pressures of which will undoubtedly lead to a sharp increase in poor mental health."

The theme of ‘nature' has played a large and positive role throughout the pandemic and it is fitting that it should be the focus of Mental Health Awareness Week 2021. Whether it was outdoor exercise, exploring local parks or taking the time to notice the change in seasons on walks to the shops, peoples experience of nature has undoubtedly changed.

Jon commented: "this has been a tough year for everyone but out of that we have seen communities find a renewed respect for the outdoors. All the studies point to the positive impact nature can have on our mental health so this week I am encouraging my constituents to venture out into some of the fantastic parks and open spaces across Dagenham and Rainham."

The Mental Health Foundation have provided a ‘top tips' page on improving mental health with nature which can be found here: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/campaigns/mental-health-awareness-week/tips

There is a lot of support out there, including contacting your GP. Some of the support available locally and nationally can be found below.

For local services get in touch with NELFT Mental Health Direct: https://www.nelft.nhs.uk/services-mental-health-direct

If you or someone you know is feeling suicidal get in touch with Samaritans: https://www.samaritans.org/ or CALM – Campaign Against Living Miserably: https://www.thecalmzone.net/

For additional resources and guidance visit: