Libraries go back to nature for Mental Health Awareness Week

This story was published 6 May 2021

North Yorkshire libraries are encouraging people to get in touch with nature to support their mental health as part of Mental Health Awareness Week, which runs from 10 to 16 May.

Mental Health Awareness Week Graphic

The week, coordinated by the Mental Health Foundation, focuses this year on nature and the environment, inspired by the support many people have found in nature throughout the pandemic.

Each year, one in four people in the UK will experience a mental health problem, and almost half have reported high levels of anxiety because of the pandemic.

County Councillor Greg White, Executive Member for Libraries, said: “The last year has made us all more aware than ever of the importance of looking after our mental health. Libraries across North Yorkshire play a vital role in providing access to information, books and activities to help to support us and our families.”

Events and promotions taking place in libraries and online during Mental Health Awareness Week include:

  • Travel writer Horatio Clare will discuss his memoir, Heavy Light: a journey through madness, mania and healing, online on Thursday, 13 May, at 6.30pm. Tickets are free but must be booked. Contact
  • Libraries will hold displays of the Reading Well and Naturally Mindful book collections.  Reading Well is a series of collections, helping people to manage their health and wellbeing through self-help books endorsed by health experts. These titles can be requested free if they are not currently available in your local library. The Naturally Mindful collection invites people to seek wellbeing in nature. Both collections are also available as e-books in the library service’s digital collection.
  • Pick up a nature quiz from libraries across the county to test your knowledge.
  • If you borrow a book from Selby library during the week, you will receive a bean and growing instructions and will be invited to share your pictures as your beanstalks grow. At Northallerton library you can pick up a sunflower seed and take the challenge to grow the tallest sunflower.
  • Great Ayton Discovery Centre is holding a bug trail. Take the family for a walk, enjoying the outdoors and discovering more about the history of the village.
  • Filey library has a mental wellbeing quiz – find out just how much you really know.
  • Northallerton library will hold an online storytime for under-fives with a nature theme. Follow Northallerton library on Facebook to join in.

Keep an eye on your local library’s social media pages for wellbeing videos, book reviews and information about health resources available at the library. You can share what you are doing, too.  Staff and volunteers at your local library would love to see a picture of your favourite place to relax outdoors with a good book.