Mental Health Awareness Week – thoughts from Anna Brodrick, Central’s Head of Medical & Wellbeing & Lead Physiotherapist

Central is marking Mental Health Awareness Week (MHAW) with thoughts about Nature, the theme for this year, and how the time of day can inspire wellbeing.

Each day this week a series of messages and inspirational texts are being sent to Central’s students and staff to support their wellbeing, particularly important this year as we emerge gently from the global pandemic.  The same core themes are being communicated to Central’s wider audiences on social media.

The messaging starts with sunrise and thoughts about the rhythm of the day suggesting: “Take the opportunity to breathe and think, what will I bring to this day?”

The second post focuses on the morning highlighting the pace of nature its inherent patience suggesting:

“Find time to pause and be still”

With midday, afternoon, and sunset these inspirational and thoughtful messages highlight wellbeing and include the need to reflect, to appreciate others and to be grateful.

Anna Brodrick, Central’s Head Head of Medical & Wellbeing & Lead Physiotherapist said:

“We recognise this year has felt very different from individual’s expectations. Living, socialising, training and dancing have all been impacted to significant level. This has in turn presented unexpected challenges. At Central we are passionate about the importance of wellness. We aim to charge wellness with momentum and energy as we progress through the last weeks and months of term. During MHAW we bring our attention to student and staff mental health, to remind each other of support, to create moments to press pause, and overall to optimise health not only for this week but as a conscious effort ongoingly in our culture.”

The many benefits of being in nature are proven through established research.  In a paper published in the International Journal of Wellbeing by Capaldi, Passmore, Nisbet, Zelenski and Dopko (2015), how nature affects mental health is highlighted “many people are not as  connected  to  nature  as  they  could  be  and  this  has implications,  not  only  for  the  wellbeing  of  the  environment,  but  also  for  the wellbeing  of individuals.”

The paper continues: “In fact, there is growing evidence that supports the age-old belief that connecting with nature promotes  flourishing  (wellbeing) and positive  mental health. Without regular contact with nature, however, people may be missing out on some of these psychological benefits.”

A focus on wellbeing – both psychological and physical – is at the heart of the support for Central’s students studying undergraduate degree programmes.  Dancers at Central will achieve a level of fitness similar to elite athletes by the completion of their degree. To achieve this optimal performance, Central supports students to be physically and mentally healthy, and able to cope and thrive in their professional careers in a positive and constructive way. To realise these aims, students have open access to a comprehensive range of support services and specialist staff.  For more information about Central’s Health and Wellbeing support as part of professional training see: Link:

Ref: Capaldi, C. A., Passmore, H. A., Nisbet, E. K., Zelenski, J. M., & Dopko, R. L. (2015).  Flourishing in nature: A review of the benefits of connecting with nature and its application as a wellbeing intervention.  International Journal of Wellbeing