There is no doubt that Covid-19 and the resulting economic uncertainty surrounding the pandemic has had a major impact on people’s mental health. The theme for World Mental Health Day (WMHD) 2021 is ‘Mental Health in an Unequal World’ which aims to address the inequalities that still exist around race and ethnicity, sexual orientation and gender identity, and the lack of respect for human rights which ultimately have an impact on people’s mental health.
With multiple lockdowns and isolation periods resulting in a lack of human contact, Covid-19 dramatically highlighted our dependence on the natural world. Visits to green spaces and parks soared during this time allowing people a brief escape from the confines of their homes. Demonstrating the importance of green infrastructure for health and wellbeing, researchers in Tokyo conducted a study that connected going outside into a natural setting and mental health outcomes, such as self-esteem, loneliness, depression, life satisfaction and happiness. The study found that seeing or experiencing green space – even through a window – showed significant changes for these outcomes. Older people generally had a greater association between green space and decreased anxiety, however everyone seemed to benefit from engagement with green space in some way.
Resonating with this year’s theme for WMHD, the pandemic also highlighted the inadequate, and unequal, access to high-quality green spaces – disproportionately affecting the mental and physical health of those from more disadvantaged communities and those who live alone. It is not just physical exercise that we need – access to green space is important to all – and activity in a green or blue environment such as woodland, seaside, rivers, etc is essential to preserve health. Similarly to the NHS recommendation that UK adults should exercise for 150 minutes a week, which has been found to help ease mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression, a study found that spending at least 120 minutes a week in nature is associated with good health and wellbeing.
At Acorn we have always focussed on the importance of the provision of or access to outside space, designing our homes to optimise views, draw in as much natural light as possible and with as much outside space as feasible, be it communal or private. The launch of Acorn Green represents our commitment to sustainable housebuilding to further drive down our carbon footprint through a combination of natural solutions and the latest technologies. For example, we use extensive planting, landscaping and green roofs to provide biodiversity and enhance the amenity and setting of our projects.
Located in Somerset, our Cubis Bruton and The Old Printworks developments not only have beautiful gardens but are surrounded by an abundance of glorious countryside to explore. The Old Printworks itself features 1.5 acres of public space promoting not only the health and wellbeing of its residents, but also the ecology and biodiversity of the natural world. In addition, a newly created footpath allows residents to stroll along the River Frome and connect with nature, birdsong and wildlife. Our new Ashton Fields development coming soon to the incredibly beautiful Cotswold Water Park promises a lifestyle opportunity like no other. Delivering a stunning collection of rural homes in The Cotswolds, a total of 34 acres of the site has been dedicated to the creation of two new private lakes, ideal for wild swimming. Additionally, a further 15 acres will form private parkland with wildlife corridors as well as dedicated walking and running trails for the exclusive use of its residents.
For those drawn to the lure of the ocean, many of our coastal homes are found in some of the UK’s most stunning destinations. The rise of ‘Blue Health’, is an increasingly researched topic that investigates why blue spaces, such as the sea, can improve our physical and mental wellbeing. For example, a study involving 20,000 smartphone users recording their wellbeing at various intervals, found marine and coastal spots were the ‘happiest locations’, averaging six points higher than an urban environment.
Uniquely positioned within walking distance of one of Cornwall’s most renowned surfing beaches, Constantine Bay, the exceptional location of Treglos boasts glorious sea views, fresh sea air and superb coastal walks – the perfect spot to switch off, relax and take in your surroundings. Just 4 miles from Treglos, our new homes coming soon to The Padstow Collection are set in a prime Padstow location featuring views over the Camel Estuary, a tranquil spot to admire the local sandbanks, reed beds and wading birds.
Head south of Cornwall and you will find our beautiful coastal homes at The Courtyard. Situated above a secluded beach and private woodland, the homes are just moments from beautiful coastal walks and breathtaking surroundings. Featuring private outside space, residents can enjoy access to a communal landscaped courtyard complemented by a lovingly restored Grade II listed clock tower.
Further north in South Wales, our homes at The Links overlooking Rest Bay combine the best of rural and coastal living. Surrounded by outstanding vistas over the Royal Porthcawl Golf Club, the homes provide a peaceful haven from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
To find out more visit World Mental Health Day or why not join in the conversation on social media using the hashtags: #MHAW21 #WorldMentalHealthDay #MentalHealth.