The theme of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week is Nature, drawing attention to the fact that nature is crucial for our mental health

The theme of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week is ‘Nature’, drawing attention to the fact that (as our experiences of lockdown have highlighted) nature is crucial for our mental health. But not everyone has equal access to natural places: poorer communities are more likely to lack them; women can be excluded because of the threats of harassment and violence they face.

This is an opportunity for us to think about how we can ‘grow back better’, giving everyone access to the natural world, and exploring its relationship with mental health. It is also an opportunity to consider how we can relate in non-consumerist ways to non-human animals and the natural world, as fellow creatures of God, recognising that, with the poor and oppressed, the natural world is also crying out for justice (see Romans 8.22).

About our speaker

Tasia Scrutton is Associate Professor at University of Leeds at the School for Philosophy, Religion and History of Science. Prior to coming to Leeds, Tasia held the Frederick J. Crosson research fellowship at the Center for Philosophy of Religion at the University of Notre Dame, USA and was also an Associate Lecturer at the Open University . Tasia is a philosopher of religion with particular interests in religion and mental health, and in philosophical approaches to emotion and psychiatry. Her book Christianity and Depression (SCM Press 2020) looks at (Christian and other) interpretations of depression – for example, that depression is the result of sin or of demonic possession; that depression is biological and a disease; that depression is potentially transformative; that depression can be a Dark Night of the Soul. Tasia’s book examines how these different interpretations affect people with depression. It also evaluates whether and when these interpretations are helpful and/or plausible.

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