Improve your mental health by taking your esailing habits off the computer and get outside

It is Mental Health Awareness Week (MHAW) in the UK and this year the chosen theme by the Mental Health Foundation (MHF) is Nature. We’re joining colleagues across the UK, encouraging everyone to get out and enjoy nature throughout the week with a photography competition for our staff, with entries showcasing the beauty of nature and the environment.

So why don’t you join us and aim to get out more this week, whether it be for a sail at your local sailing club or a spot of boat bimbling in your driveway, any time spent outside will help your mental health.

More than half of UK adults say being close to nature improves their mental health and four in ten find it helps them feel less worried or anxious (according to the MHF).

“There are increased benefits of spending more time in nature and leaving technology behind such as improved short term memory, enhanced working memory, better problem solving, greater creativity, lower levels of stress and higher feelings of positive well-being.” David Strayer, Dept of Psychology, University of Utah.

GAC UK has been putting mental health centre stage since 2019, and at the beginning of 2020 had trained seven Mental Health First Aiders. This meant that when the world went into lockdown due to the Covid19 pandemic we had the necessary skills to help staff when required. As we turned to technology to ensure our logistics services continued, it became very clear to everyone that time spent outside with nature would remain key to our mental health and wellbeing going forward. At the time, we spoke to Björn Tallving who, for over twenty years has worked with major sailing teams and the Volvo Ocean Race providing psychological support. If you missed the article in our newsletter ‘The Migrator’ you can read it here.

Tallving stressed the importance of making someone responsible for mental health whether that is on a boat or in the office. “It shows that teams are taking care of their employees and that their mental psychological well-being is part of everyday life.  In a way it is like business coaching, but for the brain,” said Tallving.

We have pressed on with our training programme and now have a further five Mental Health First Aiders trained across the business. We recently signed the Mental Health in Maritime pledge to achieve Diversity in Maritime charter status, as implemented by Maritime UK (the collective voice for the UK maritime industry). We continue to support the charities, MIND and SAMH (the Scottish Association for Mental Health), and as part of appraisal processes, staff are actively encouraged to volunteer time to charitable causes that are important to them personally.

All this forms the backbone to the People element of our ten-year sustainability programme, launched in March this year. Find out more about MARS25 here.

So why don’t you join us in making the time spent outside with Nature a top priority. Show us how your sailing passion takes you closer to nature and share your images with us on Instagram today – be sure to @mention us so we can re-share some of the favourites with other sailors across the globe.

Mental Health Awareness Week runs from 10th – 16th May. Find out more at: