Friendships blossom in the gardens of Havenmere

10 May 2021

Stephen and Kevin at Havenmere potting plants

The theme of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week is nature, highlighting the importance of the great outdoors in supporting good mental health and wellbeing.

At our Havenmere care home in Immingham, Stephen and Kevin have struck up a close friendship over their love of the outdoors.

Stephen, a keen gardener who has his own allotment plot near the home, has been sharing his skills with Kevin to help prepare the gardens of Havenmere for summer.

Stephen grew up on a farm and this has remained his passion for life. Colleagues at Havenmere support him to tend to his allotment patch a couple of times per week, as well as spend time on his brother’s farm, where he cuts the grass and does odd jobs to help out.

During the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Stephen has played a key role in maintaining the gardens of Havenmere, and his friendship with Kevin has blossomed over their love of the outdoors.

Over the past few months, the pair has enjoyed potting seeds in trays and watering the plants and potted vegetables that are going to be planted in Stephen’s allotment.

Stephen and Kevin have built up a lovely friendship on Bridgeway Unit at the home, and support each other in more ways than they realise.

This Mental Health Awareness Week, we’re supporting the Mental Health Foundation’s call for everyone to #ConnectWithNature in one of these three ways.  

  • Experience nature: take time to recognise and grow your connection with nature during the week. Take a moment to notice and celebrate nature in your daily life. You might be surprised by what you notice!
  • Share nature: take a photo, video or sound recording and share the connections you’ve made during the week, to inspire others. Join the discussion on how you’re connecting with nature by using the hashtags #ConnectWithNature #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek. Please also copy @exemplarhc into your post and tell us how you know us!
  • Talk about nature: use the Foundation’s tips, packs, research and policy guides to discuss in your family, school, workplace and community how you can help encourage people to find new ways to connect with nature in your local environment.

Nature and our mental health

The Mental Health Foundation shares that ‘nature is central to our psychological and emotional health, that it’s almost impossible to realise good mental health for all without a greater connection to the natural world’.

Being around nature brings lots of benefits to our mental wellbeing and it’s a great way to get our dose of vitamin D.

Studies suggest that people’s cortisol levels go down in a calm, green environment, which can reduce stress, anxiety and depression - even small contacts can make a big difference to our mood.