Take a break from the stress of life by going out
Spring has finally arrived in Ohio, and with it, the hope of leaving behind the uncertainty and challenges of the pandemic with the cold, dark days of winter.
May brings us warmer weather, flowers and budding trees, and Mental Health Awareness Month.
Now is the time to rediscover Ohio and enjoy the restorative benefits that our large outdoor spaces provide. There is no waiting, no appointment necessary and no prescription required. The refills are endless.
The healing benefits of time spent in nature are well documented for people of all ages and ethnicities, as are the reasons why green spaces and access to parks are so important to all of our communities. Not only is good for our physical health, there is ample evidence that spending just 15 minutes outdoors also reduces stress, improves our mood, and improves our sense of well-being.
As leaders of the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services and the Department of Natural Resources, we encourage you to take a break from the stress of life by getting out.
Fresh air and natural light are always good no matter where you get it. It can be as simple as walking around the block with a friend or neighbor, sitting on a park bench to breathe the spring air, or taking your family to visit one of the parks in Ohio State. Open daily and always free, Ohio’s state parks and waterways offer an escape from the hectic pace of life.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources has tools to help you plan your next outdoor adventure. Visit our website at Ohiodnr.gov to find a destination where you can walk, hike, bike or canoe.
On our website you can also find out more about our DETOUR Trails app which puts thousands of miles of trails at your fingertips.
We recognize that sometimes the outdoors may not be enough and some of us may need more help dealing with life’s challenges.
If you or someone you know is struggling and needs extra support with their mental health, we encourage you to call the Ohio CareLine at 1-800-720-9616 for free emotional support from a licensed clinician. Someone is always online to listen, share helpful tips for dealing with stress, and connect you with local resources when needed.
Let’s live together outside of Ohio. We’ll see you soon in the great outdoors of Ohio.
Lori Criss is the director of the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services. Mary Mertz is the director of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.