For many years I worked in mental health, both as a technician, (terrible title)! within a locked mental health hospital, taking patients out rambling and into the community. In more recent years as a counsellor for adolescents and adults. The more I begin to understand the terrible effect that poor mental health can have on an individual, and consequently on their families and partners, the more I begin to understand my own mental health and its fragility.

Having some knowledge of the ‘treatments’ for mental health, in particular anxiety and depression, fills me with some frustrations. As we know the mental health system struggles with the huge number of referrals and tries to manage this with brief interventions, such as CBT, (cognitive behavioural therapy), which I have no problem with, but to be honest can be more of an intellectual exercise for some.

I have always loved the natural world, and more recently in my later years take as many opportunities to engage with wildlife, trees, forests, meadows, and when possible mountains.

So, is nature a cure for anxiety and depression? In part I believe so. But I have often been ‘in nature’ and felt very anxious.

I wanted to share my own ‘cure’ for this debilitating feeling. I have found that by taking a camera out with me on my walks brings incredible peace. I believe that by really focussing, (no pun intended), on your subject, you lose yourself to the process of taking a picture. I don’t have particularly expensive equipment but believe that my finished photos reflect the love that I feel for my subjects, whether it be leaves, dragonflies or birds. I realised that this focussing on the environment around me, instead of filling my head with negative thoughts as I walked, works.

Worth a try? I believe so, we are all removed from our natural surroundings these days, nature has incredible healing powers. I’ll be focussing on nature until I go back to the earth myself.

Chris, Suffolk

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