By Chloe Russell, Communication Officer
Mental Health Awareness Week is an important time for people to reflect on their mental health and well-being. One term that has gained traction in recent years is "blue mind." The Thames Estuary Partnership (TEP) has been working to promote blue mind as a way to connect people with the river Thames and improve mental health.
Blue mind is a term coined by marine biologist Wallace J. Nichols. It refers to the mental benefits of being near, in, on, or under water. Studies have shown that being in nature, particularly around water, can have a calming effect on the mind and reduce stress and anxiety.
TEP recently produced a podcast episode with Wallace, where he discusses the concept of blue mind and how it can be applied to mental health. Wallace is the author of the book "Blue Mind: The Surprising Science That Shows How Being Near, In, On, or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected, and Better at What You Do."
In the podcast, Wallace talks about how water can help people feel more connected to their surroundings and improve their mood. He also discusses how blue mind can be used to support mental health in urban areas. Wallace emphasises that even small bodies of water, like a fountain or a pond, can have a positive impact on mental health.
TEP has also launched an online interactive map called “The Thames Tranquillity Map” where users can input their most peaceful spots in the river Thames. The map was launched on Blue Mind Day last July and has been a valuable tool for promoting mental health and well-being. The map allows users to share their favourite spots on the river and connect with others who are interested in blue mind.
To add your favourite spot, follow this link, and click on the information button on the bottom left marked "i" and follow the easy-to-follow steps.
Blue mind is not just a concept for individuals, but also for communities. TEP is working to promote blue mind as a way to connect people with the river Thames and improve the overall well-being of the community. This includes initiatives to increase access to the river and encourage people to engage with the water in a safe and responsible way.
One of the ways the TEP is promoting blue mind is by hosting events and activities on the river Thames. This includes guided walks that allow people to experience the calming effects of the water as well as learn some interesting historical and ecological facts along the way. With this in mind, tickets are still available for our popular guided walk this September as part of Totally Thames Festival.
In conclusion, mental health is an important issue that affects us all. This Mental Health Awareness Week, the Thames Estuary Partnership is promoting blue mind as a way to connect people with the river Thames and improve their mental health. Through initiatives like “The Thames Tranquillity Map” and events on the river, TEP is working to create a more connected and healthy community. Whether it's a stroll along the river bank or a boat trip down the Thames, we encourage everyone to take some time to experience the benefits of blue mind.