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Article published 10/05/2021

National Park celebrates stories of nature supporting people’s mental health

Enjoyment of the outdoors in Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park (LLTTNP) is helping people’s mental wellbeing post-lockdown and giving them a deeper appreciation for nature.

This Mental Health Awareness Week, the National Park Authority is sharing and celebrating stories from people who have benefited from feeling more connected to nature and as a result have a greater respect for the Park’s amazing environment.

Organised by the Mental Health Foundation, the theme of Mental Health Awareness Week 2021 is Nature, focusing on the powerful benefits of nature for our mental health.

The charity’s research found that going for walks outside has been a popular coping strategy during the pandemic, with 45% of people reporting that being in green spaces had been vital for their mental health.

After both lockdowns, the National Park saw a surge of visitors keen to get back out into the outdoors as well as people taking up new outdoor activities such as open water swimming, hillwalking, camping and cold-water therapy.

As well as the physical health benefits of outdoor recreation, these activities are also helping people’s mental wellbeing and, for many, building a sense of pride in looking after special places like the National Park.

Lorna rediscovers the outdoors

The first story it is sharing is of camping and hillwalking enthusiast Lorna Kerr with this video:

Lorna Kerr rediscovered her love of the outdoors after being invited to climb Ben Lomond with a friend during a particularly tough time in her life. She had begun suffering from anxiety attacks after her daughter had been diagnosed with a rare bone condition. The 41-year-old from West Lothian is now a passionate outdoors enthusiast.

I didn’t start hillwalking for my mental health but the more I did it, the more it helped. I felt a sense of purpose, a connection to nature and to the friends I was doing it with. Hiking is still my main activity but I love all sorts of adventures now, including camping, cold water swimming and paddle boarding. I just love being outside and I feel like it’s a gift I am giving my daughter too.

I feel very lucky to have Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park within easy reach. And I believe strongly that when it comes to looking after nature, everybody has a part to play. We get so much from the outdoors.

Lorna Kerr

#RespectProtectEnjoy

Organisations across Scotland have come together to develop a Scotland-wide approach to visitor management which began in the middle of March 2021.

The responsible tourism campaign highlights the importance of exploring Scotland responsibly and aims to address some of the issues experienced last year, when we saw a rise in domestic visitors who sought to discover and enjoy Scotland’s countryside.

We need you to help spread the message and share content with your visitors and in your communities, helping them to enjoy the outdoors responsibly.

We have a wide range of resources, from films to web content to imagery that will help you do just that. Use this free resource to enhance the responsible visitor message through the visual content you share.

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