At Venture Trust, the people we work with have faced extreme adversity and need to overcome many barriers in life to reach their potential. One of those barriers is looking after their mental health whilst experiencing other difficulties in life.
To ask for help takes courage, and we continue to be inspired by those who ask for that help and support from key workers, organisations like ours and from family and friends where possible. Building resilience and developing the tools needed to look after mental health in the long term, requires being brave and open to challenges and change.
As part of Mental Health Awareness week, you can learn from our participants how they began to look after their mental health after working with Venture Trust.
Connecting with the outdoors and our surroundings can bring peace, focus, and alleviate stress. Nature moves slowly and changes naturally with the seasons – spending time in nature can help us adopt this pace, slowing down from day-to-day life and provide new perspective.
Venture Trust works to alleviate the barriers that some people experience getting outdoors, so we can all experience the benefits of the outdoors and nature – whether this is in the mountains, in an urban park or on a windswept beach.
Declan was a young person living in homeless accommodation and experiencing depression. A wilderness journey with Venture Trust as part of our personal development and learning programmes inspired him to use the outdoors to improve his mental health and manage his stress.
“Any time I’m feeling stressed and worked up, I know the place for me to go. I know I can chill out just by being outside.”
The smells, the sounds, and the movement of nature can all help to alleviate low moods and anxiety. Connecting to our senses and our movement is one way to use nature and mindfulness to benefit our mental health.
Alister was a veteran who was struggling with his transition to civilian life, and this was having an impact on his mental health. Getting outdoors and connecting with nature helped Alister reflect on his life and the ways he can move forward.
“Getting to the outdoors really changed my perspective. I used to get myself into bother, but I promised myself I wasn’t going to do that anymore.”
Since working with Venture Trust, Alister looks after his wellbeing through mindfulness. He found that waking up and making a list of things you are grateful for in life is a great way to manage mental health.
“I see mindfulness as being grateful for being. Being grateful for being me, for having people around me, and I’m grateful for the group we had at Venture Trust.”
Making sure we get enough sleep, exercise and have time for social activities are all aspects of having a healthy routine. When we prioritise regular time outdoors and in nature, this can also positively impact our mental health.
Recently we spoke to Declan, a young person on our Change Cycle course who felt his routine in lockdown was having a negative impact on his life. Having a routine which benefits our health and wellbeing is different for every individual, but it is an important step in managing our physical, mental and emotional health.
In Declan’s case, improving his routine gave him what he needed to get back into work.
“I was out of work and getting into bad habits. No getting up on time, sleeping in, and not feeling good about myself. So having the chance to come on the programme with Venture Trust really helped with my confidence and helped me get into a routine, which was the main thing I was struggling with.”