April 13, 2024

Wiltshire nature sessions to aid men’s mental health

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A 12-week nature programme is helping men to open up about their mental health

A new free wellbeing course to help men improve their mental health has made an “incredible difference”.

Wiltshire Council is working alongside Wiltshire Wildlife Trust to support men aged 20-59 with stress management and mindfulness.

The sessions consist of nature-based physical activities such as hiking, woodwork and bush craft skills.

Trevor Yeates said the course restored his confidence and “turned his life around”.

Men signing up for the programme can expect to meet a group of likeminded people, spending the day at a nature reserve and bonding over similar experiences.

Image source, Simon Lathbury

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Sessions and activities are shaped based on the interests of those attending

“There’s been a crisis for a long time now when it comes to men’s mental health,” said programme leader, Imogen Jackson.

“Although there’s a lot of services out there starting to shine a light on things, there’s still so much work that needs to be done.

“Programmes like this that are supporting men to get outside in nature and do something active seem to be really effective,” she added.

Ms Jackson said the course filled up almost immediately, adding: “There’s obviously so much need for it.”

‘Turned my life around’

Trevor Yeates, who attended a similar outdoor wellbeing course with the Trust several years ago, said the experience encouraged him to “get out more”.

“When you’re struggling with your mental health, you tend not to go out, you tend to get tied up with your own thoughts,” he said.

“Getting out and meeting people was quite difficult for me, but once we got out it was brilliant!”

Image source, Simon Lathbury

Image caption,

Nature-based activities include practical conservation, shelter building, and bushcraft skills

Mr Yeates said his mental health worsened following his retirement, suddenly lacking social interaction and a sense of structure in his life.

“This course got me back into talking and feeling safe, you get your confidence back. It’s been really great for me, totally turned my life around,” he added.

In response to a high demand, other men’s wellbeing sessions are scheduled to run later this year in Trowbridge and Chippenham.

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