We’re well into the swing of summer, and the sunshine has us inspired to get outside! That’s why this month we are featuring the mental health benefits of spending time outside, and our programs that promote it.
Want to improve your mental health? Get outside!
You may know that getting outside and being active has lots of physical benefits, but did you know that it can benefit your mental health as well? Studies show that spending time in nature can reduce stress by reducing your body’s cortisol levels, heart rate, and blood pressure. Additionally, exposure to natural light has been shown to improve sleep, which in turn, has a major impact on our mental health. A study out of the University of Illinois suggested that exposure to green spaces increases social inclusion, including more interactions with neighbours, and a stronger sense of community and safety. Want to experience the benefits of spending more time outside? Check out these tips from CMHA National on how to make the most of your time outside.
CMHA North and West Vancouver is using this evidence in our practice through our Steps youth program. Steps brings youth together to spend time outside, and try new recreational experiences such as hiking, bouldering, and kayaking. By giving youth the opportunity to spend time in nature and get active with other youth in similar situations, we are noticing the same results as the scientific community: 75% of participants reported a decrease in depression symptoms, and 50% of participants reported a decrease in anxiety symptoms. We are also receiving positive feedback from families and clinicians.
Do you know a youth (13-29) struggling with depression or anxiety who may benefit from Steps? We are currently accepting referrals for our Fall program! Contact Claire Ramsfield, our Youth Programs Coordinator for more information.
News & Updates
A Big THANK YOU to Pacific Blue Cross!
In July, we were the lucky recipients of a $10,000 grant from the Pacific Blue Cross Health Foundation to support the Steps youth program. It’s through important community connections like these that we are able to further develop our programs, like the expansion of our Steps program to include youth aged 19-29. We are grateful for the opportunity for this community connection.
CMHA Annual General Meeting September 17th, 5:00 PM, Location TBD
Our AGM is open to all members of CMHA North & West Vancouver, and is an opportunity to have a say in the future of our organization. If you want to attend and have your voice heard, go HERE to become a member, or to renew your membership for the 2018/2019 year. Members will receive detailed information regarding the AGM, including the agenda and location details.
Mental Health First Aid – Basic September 19th and 21st, 8:45 AM to 4:00 PM, HOpe Centre Telfer Burke Room,
1337 St Andrews Ave, North Vancouver
If you’ve taken a physical first aid course, you’ve learned the skills needed to help someone experiencing a sudden illness or injury. Mental Health First Aid prepares you in the same way. You will gain skills to recognize a mental health crisis, and learn how to provide appropriate comfort and support until professional help is available. You will leave with the knowledge and confidence to help others when they need it the most. Registration is now open, with Early Bird savings available until August 20th!