Mental health week: Murray Bridge expo to focus on wellbeing in nature | VIDEO

Gardening Australia presenter Sophie Thomson will be the star attraction at a nature-themed wellbeing event next Friday, October 12.

The ninth annual Mental Health and Wellbeing Expo will offer a free barbecue lunch, family holiday activities, live music and games at Murray Bridge Town Hall.

But most importantly, it will offer all who attend tips on stepping out of the grind, taking a deep breath and appreciating the natural world around us.

Ms Thomson will share her skills in the area of gardening as therapy; also on the bill will be nature-based occupational therapist Bronwyn Paynter.

Murray Bridge's gardening clubs will also be involved, and an indoor park featuring trees and grass will be set up inside the town hall.

The expo will link in with an SA Health campaign, "Five Ways to Wellbeing in Nature", which focuses on connecting with people and the natural world, being active in it, noticing nature's beauty, learning about the environment and doing something nice for others.

Community safety officer Bec Turner said she would encourage anyone to get involved with a community garden or garden club.

"Donating your time to community gardens is giving your time to the community," she said.

It's good for you: Cathy Smith, Bronwyn Heard, Bec Turner, Paul Ankerson and Carly Udy get out among the greenery in Diamond Park. Photo: Peri Strathearn.

It's good for you: Cathy Smith, Bronwyn Heard, Bec Turner, Paul Ankerson and Carly Udy get out among the greenery in Diamond Park. Photo: Peri Strathearn.

"You're taking notice of nature, learning garden skills and making social connections."

The idea of communal gardening even tied in with community safety, she said: the more people one knew in a community, the safer one felt living there, and the greater one's wellbeing.

"Hopefully ... people can feel safer in the community by knowing their neighbours," she said.

She hoped the idea would take off not just in Murray Bridge, but around South Australia.

Also at the expo will be Michael Spurrier, to share stories from his experience of living with schizophrenia, and Tracey Wanganeen from Uniting Communities' Stand By Response Service.

Headspace will bring a therapy dog, whose job it is to help people relax and feel happy even if they struggle to connect with other people.

Young people from The Station will be there, playing music; members of the Skylight Mental Health group will demonstrate their ukulele skills; and the Murray Marvels will dance.

Neighbourhood Watch volunteers will be there too, giving away matchboxes of seeds to go away and plant.

There will be a chill-out zone with giant games and face painting, door prizes donated by local businesses and a free barbecue lunch.

Schedule

  • 10.15am: Bronwyn Paynter
  • 10.50am: Sophie Thomson
  • 12pm: Free barbecue lunch
  • 12.30pm: Michael Spurrier
  • 1.45pm: Tracey Wanganeen

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