Mental Health Awareness Week: 12-year-old's view on nature and wellbeing

A family enjoying a picnic outdoors

A family enjoying a picnic outdoors - Credit: Credit - JaySi/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Dappled sunlight filtered through the murk of the canopy above. All around I could hear the faint muffled voices of nature whispering to my mind. The wind sung is a graceful melody that echoed in my ears. Insects hummed a steady beat that was perfectly timed with my mud coated boot crushing the trembling spring blossom that lined the moist floor. Heavy hues of petal pink, lime and emerald surrounded me. I walked further into the rich verdancy.

A titian fox tottered across my path; its eyes stared lazily into mine. I took a step closer observing the way it’s coat glimmered in the strained sunlight the slight arch of its back the way its eyes were bright and full of curiosity. The fox ambled away.

A fresh wave air engulfed me. The crisp sweet air was intoxicating. I felt all my anger all my frustration ebb away. Never had I felt so attached to the Earth beneath me. A sort of mindfulness washed over me like the sea’s ablution over a rocky shore.

Then something rose in me: not quite happiness, not quite sadness – an indescribable bliss.

I spotted a large tree freckled with moss. I leant against its imposing stature and closed my eyes. Nature penetrated and soothed my mind. A mind that was clear.


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In the past, mental health was considered a sign of weakness. In recent times we, especially my generation, have begun to comprehend that it is important to share and acknowledge your feelings.

Mental health issues were hidden and buried and whereas now people can be vocal about what they have experienced.

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Many people have yet to fully understand the extent of what some mental health issues can do to an individual, leading to discrimination, making transition to a healthy mind, harder.

One in six people will experience some form of mental Health issues in their lifetime. One in nine children have been medically diagnosed with mental health issues, according to the NHS.

Teenage peer pressure has contributed to the increase of mental illness amongst school children, in particular.

During the prison-like Lockdown the only sanctuary was in our outings into nature to sooth away the anxieties. Nature wiped the brow of the mind and nurse it back to a path of health.

Good mental health is about grabbing a peaceful moment in nature to look at life – not the past, not the future, but here in the very present.

Melissa is a 12-year-old north London student.

This newspaper is hosting Ham&High: Our Community's Mental Health on Friday May 21. It is a day of free online events on the topic of mental health. Register for free by searching "Ham&High" on eventbrite.co.uk.

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