You’d be mistaken to think that these photographs were taken in the lush English countryside, but it was actually Camden Town in north London.
The shoot was for the wonderful mental health charity “Mind”, where we documented some of the superb projects they run. These range from horticultural and agricultural activities through to walking groups and the regeneration of local parks to encourage people to enjoy and benefit from nature and green spaces in their local community. Involving people with mental health problems in local environmental projects improves their confidence and self-esteem.
We had a wonderful morning in the sunshine and a big thanks to the celebrity gardener Rachel de Thame and the rest of the gang at the project. It was delightful to meet and photograph you all.
Here is more detail from Mind about the projects we photographed…
Mind, the leading mental health charity, is calling for people to get outside to guard against winter blues and improve mental health. Celebrity gardener Rachel de Thame is supporting the Mind campaign to raise awareness of how easily we can all protect our mental wellbeing during the winter months.
Many of us feel a dip in mood and our enthusiasm wanes as summer draws to an end and autumn arrives. This is especially pertinent when the clocks go back, with research showing this is largely due to a reduction in sunlight. Our internal patterns of sleep and appetite, sex drive, temperature, mood and activity rely on natural light cycles so, as the UK sees hours of daylight diminish from 17 in mid-June to just 8 in December, we can all be affected.
Many people feel low, eat and sleep more, and feel less inclined to get out and socialise with friends or go to work. Outdoor exercise increases exposure to sunlight and can impact our mood positively. In fact research shows outdoor exercise can be as effective as antidepressants in treating mild to moderate depression and anxiety.
Rachel de Thame, celebrity gardener and Gardeners’ World presenter is supporting Mind’s campaign to raise awareness of the positive impact of outdoor exercise during the winter months.
Rachel de Thame said:
“The garden is a sanctuary for me, it provides fresh air, a place to get away from the pressures of everyday life, and an opportunity to take a step back and appreciate the world around us. Whether in your back garden, local park, or even helping out at a local school or community centre, outdoor spaces are available to us all.
At this time of year it is vital that we all take advantage of the therapeutic effects of the great outdoors and look after our own mental wellbeing. As winter approaches, I will definitely be out, rain or shine, and hope you too will give it a go.”
Paul Farmer CBE, Chief Executive of Mind said:
“We all know that our moods can sink in autumn and the clocks going back is a real reminder of the dark days to come. However by simply getting outdoors we can all help ourselves in strengthening our mental resilience.
Exercise will increase physical fitness, improving self-confidence. Many of us also tend to eat more in winter, especially comfort foods, which can cause weight gain, leading to reduced self-esteem and loss of energy. Increasing exercise levels will help to maintain a healthy lifestyle and in turn increase mental wellbeing. Activities with friends or an organised group such as one of Mind’s projects can also help to lift our mood just as support networks can be important when we’re feeling low.
Whether going for a lengthy bike ride, a quick jog round the local park or just time pottering in the garden, I encourage everyone to step outside and find something they enjoy this winter.”
Visit Mind’s website to see more about what they do at mind.org.uk