Monday 10th May marks the start of this years Mental Health Awareness week, the theme this year is connecting with nature and what a fantastic county Cornwall is to do just that.
We asked the team here at Healthwatch Cornwall to share their favorite places in Cornwall they like to connect with nature to give you some new ideas to get outside, explore and connect with nature yourself for Mental Health Awareness week this week.
Mental Health has emerged as a complex challenge for residents in Cornwall to manage during the ongoing uncertainty and pressure of multiple lockdowns and coronavirus related stresses since March last year.
Our Cornwall coronavirus survey last year highlighted this through the feedback you shared with us and we have reported this back to the system here in Cornwall who have made changes to improve services since then.
Our latest research on accessing mental health services in Cornwall which we have conducted in partnership with Public Health is also nearing completion, we expect to have the final report available to publish in the coming weeks so please do keep a lookout for that.
The outlook is now more optimistic for those restrictions to be a thing of the past as we approach the final stages of the key dates in the roadmap. We will of course continue to listen to residents, monitor the mental health system and act as a critical friend to relay and communicate what we are being told to the system, we exist to make sure services are the best they can be for the service users that rely on them.
We hope you enjoy meeting the team from Healthwatch Cornwall and perhaps discovering some of their favorite places to explore and connect with nature yourself here in Cornwall.
Lesley Pearson, Project Officer
My connection with nature in Cornwall has got to be with the coast. Cornish coastlines have an unspoilt beauty about them, a fascinating history and I’m drawn to the sound of waves and sea spray. There are so many wonderful beaches in Kernow, but a ‘must see’ of mine are the picture-perfect Poppy fields between West Pentire and Polly Joke beach. It’s breathtakingly beautiful in the summer when you’re surrounded by vibrant Poppies in bloom (providing a haven for nature) looking out to the backdrop of golden sand and the dreamy Ocean. It brings a sense of calm to my thinking and makes me appreciate my surroundings when I’m in this special place.
Jody Wilson, Engagement and Volunteering Manager
I love exploring the countryside in Cornwall with my family, in particular the wide open views from Bodmin Moor’s Roughtor and taking in the changes in seasons. I also enjoy exploring the coastline and I can be found with my head down rummaging among the beach looking for sea glass. Being married to a Devonian who grew up exploring the stunning Tors of Dartmoor, we also try to visit there as often as we can to take in the breath-taking scenery.
Sue Dobson, Project Manager
I moved to Cornwall last year because I love this area, and especially the coast. I had long wanted to learn to surf, and this was my opportunity, so the best place for me has to be the wild North coast of the county. That coast is great for day trips to long sandy beaches, for hikes over the cliff tops along the coastal path, for scenic roads to ride a motorbike – and especially for the regular waves that allow me to try my hand at surfing! For that reason, I would settle for Fistral Beach as my favourite place to connect with nature, as it’s where I have done most of my surfing. Time in the sea is magical for me, it always transports me away from everyday activities and cares, leaving me feeling totally energised and refreshed.
Mario Dunn, Chief Executive Officer
My favourite location in Cornwall is the coastal route around the Lizard. To me it is quite different from most of Cornwall – it is rugged, wild and beautiful – mostly untouched by people and a great place to connect with nature.
Michelle Hooker, Engagement Officer
My favourite place to be is the beach, either near the sea or in it! I don’t have one favourite beach as there are so many beautiful spots in Cornwall. Where I choose depends on whether I am sea swimming, surfing, paddle boarding, practising yoga or simply walking. I have a special place in my heart for the coastline in and around Newquay as this is where I grew up. I also love the coast in and around the Roseland Peninsula and is perfect for walking and exploring too. Connecting with nature is very important to me for my mental health and wellbeing and where better to experience the benefits of blue health than in Cornwall!
Stephen Jobling, Communications & Campaign Manager
I love the rugged coastline around West Penwith between Mousehole and Sennen, its an incredibly remote and beautiful space to connect with nature. The coastal path along this section is stunningly isolated and you might make some new friends along the way too. The beaches Sennen and Gwynver are also wonderfully wild and great for surfing too.
Jayne Royle, Volunteer
I love sea swimming in Penzance, there is a great spot called Battery Rocks where I like to go - this is a picture of me there in February earlier this year after an early morning swim. I love this place as it is the perfect location to watch the sunrise over St Michael’s Mount.
Who to call if you need urgent support for your mental health
If you are in crisis and need support, NHS Kernow have a dedicated 24/7 phone line that you can call for support in a time of crisis. Please call T: 0800 038 5300 to speak with someone, or alternatively, find out more information at the following website below.
NHS Kernow 24/7 emergency contact details
How to access support if you are not in crisis but still need help with your mental health
You can speak with your local GP to discuss your mental health, they can refer you to other organisations that might be able to provide you with assistance, such as Outlook South West.
NHS Kernow also offers the free online Cognitive Behaviour Therapy programme Silvercloud, this free online tool helps you improve and maintain your wellbeing by addressing underlying issues that can have a negative impact on your wellbeing.
You can sign up for Silvercloud by following the link below.
Other resources to help manage your mental health
Healthwatch Cornwall have also published some articles that give you ideas on how to help improve your mental health, these can be read by following the links below.
Free ways to boost your mental health.
Why being by the sea is good for your mental health.
New report coming soon
Our report on accessing mental health services in Cornwall conducted in partnership with Public Health will be published soon, please keep a lookout on our digital channels for this in the coming weeks.