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Cheshire West and Chester Council is supporting Mental Health Awareness Week

Cheshire West and Chester Council is supporting Mental Health Awareness Week which launches today (Monday 10 May 2021).

The week aims to raise awareness of mental health and this year’s theme is nature and how connecting with the natural world can support good mental health.  The week, which is hosted by the Mental Health Foundation, is in its 21st year.

Across the country, people will be celebrating the mental health benefits of being around nature in their local community in a range of digital and creative ways.

Council Leader and Cabinet Member for Wellbeing, Councillor Louise Gittins said: “Since the beginning of the pandemic, many of us turned to nature to help us get through lockdowns and our research shows that good mental health depends on us being able to connect with nature in some way and its power in both prevention of and recovery from poor mental health.

“During Mental Health Awareness Week, why not try to make a habit each day of connecting to the nature in your local area? Stop to listen to the birdsong, smell freshly cut grass, take care of a house plant, notice any trees, flowers or animals nearby. Take a moment to appreciate all the nature around you.

“We have a range of activities planned led by our Library staff and Health Rangers – get involved and find a new way to boost your wellbeing.  Regular activities include craft sessions, our ‘Not a reading group’ and ‘On-line Elevenses’.”

The borough’s libraries have a range of new activities planned too, including the launch of a new book club on 12 May at 2pm, who will be discussing “The Other Woman” by Sandie Jones.  If you would like to join the Book Club please email:LibraryEvents@cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk for the Zoom link.

A befriending service is also being launched, provided by the Library team at Storyhouse.  This new ‘Reading Friends’ service, part of The Reading Agency’s befriending programme, can help with reading recommendations, choosing books or just a bookish chat.  To find out more, contact the library on 01244 409113 (Option 2) or email library@storyhouse.com.

The Council’s Library Service already supports mental health and wellbeing through its Books on Prescription Scheme.  The scheme helps people manage their wellbeing, using self-help reading, with books to borrow free of charge. It consists of a collection of recommended self-help books for common mental health conditions.  Some of the titles are also available as eBooks, through the new Borrowbox app.

In addition to this collection there is also ‘Shelf Help’ which provides 13 to 18 year-olds with high-quality information, support and advice on a wide-range of mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, eating disorders and self-harm, and difficult life pressures like bullying and exams.

Virtual walks will be available via the Library Service’s Facebook page on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday organised by the Canal and River Trust.  These will include the Shropshire Union Canal and the Weaver Navigation plus a special walk from Frodsham Virtual Festival of Walks – around Hobb Hey Wood.

Also planned is a memory event at Lache Community Centre  on Wednesday 12 May at 10.30am. Booking is essential, the event  will comprise a pebble painting session to remember loved ones (delivered by End of Life partnership), followed by a memory walk led by one of the Council’s Health Rangers.

There will also be two Wellbeing Walks starting at Great Boughton Library at 10am and 11:30am on Friday 14 May. Booking is essential. Further regular walks are available in Frodsham, Malpas, Winsford and Northwich. To find out more about the events and walks led by the Health Ranger team please contact healthranger@cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk.

The Library Service’s programme of events can be found on the Council’s website.

For more information about this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week visit www.mentalhealth.org.uk/mhaw or join the conversation on social media using #ConnectWithNature and #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek.

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