Mental Health Awareness Week



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Sarah Parker

Today marks the start of Mental Health Awareness Week, which takes place annually to help raise awareness around the importance of mental health and in turn remove any stigma. This year the theme is Nature and the Environment

At NAA we are committed to supporting all our colleagues who suffer with their mental health. We have an open-door policy, and employees know that any concerns will be handled delicately and confidentially with no judgement. NAA has an online space for sharing resources and contacts to aid with mental health; we also offer a health cash plan which provides employees and their families access to a 24-hour advice line with referral to counselling if necessary.

We all know that work can have a significant impact on our mental health, especially if people work long hours. In archaeology, many of our colleagues are fortunate enough to be able to work in nature for at least part of the year. Many of our sites are in the countryside, and even most of our urban sites are outside. For #mentalhealthawarenessweek we will be #sharingnature by showing you some of the amazing places in which we work.

At NAA we are also extremely fortunate that our head office is on the outskirts of the beautiful town of Barnard Castle. The office has so many windows, which is not always great in the winter, but they allow expansive views of the countryside with many lovely walks right from our doorstep!

During the pandemic, getting out into nature has been a lifeline for many of us. From that ‘one hour a day’ exercise at the beginning to being able to reconnect with our friends and families outside, nature has been an instrumental part in our mental wellbeing. This week we will be encouraging everyone to connect with nature, whether this is paying more attention on the walk into work, taking a lunch break outside (weather permitting) or bringing nature to their home by growing flowers or plants indoors. See more tips here:

Poor mental health affects one in four adults at some time in their lives, so it is time to make sure everyone gets the support they need. Sharing Mental Health Awareness Week across our platforms will hopefully help to remove the stigma and encourage people to seek help. There is still some work to do but it is comforting to know that here at NAA we really are all in this together and I am enormously proud to be a part of it.


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