Young women being inspired to get outside on World Mental Health Day
A new campaign to encourage more young women to get outside and enjoy nature has been unveiled.
Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and Young Scot have been working with teenage girls to design #GirlsGetOot, a social media campaign aimed at breaking down the barriers to getting outdoors.
Visiting the outdoors can improve physical and mental health but surveys have shown girls aged 15-17 are significantly less likely to be active outside than boys of the same age.
Issues such as gender expectations, social pressures, body image and perceptions about the cost are among those identified by researchers as preventing young women from experiencing nature.
The social media drive, announced on World Mental Health Day, will target teenage girls aged between 14 and 18 as part of Scotland’s Year of Young People.
The #GirlsGetOot campaign – developed as part of Freshspace, a partnership between SNH, Young Scot and young female volunteers – will launch later this autumn.
As part of the scheme, animations designed with the help of teenage girls will highlight how simple activities such as going for a walk with friends, listening to music outdoors or sharing photos of nature can help to relieve the stress experienced by many young women.
SNH chief executive Francesca Osowska is this week completing a 1,300-mile cycle trip across Scotland to raise awareness of the health benefits of getting out in nature.
She said: “I love being active, especially when I can combine it with experiencing Scotland’s magnificent outdoors, so I am really passionate about encouraging young women to realise the great opportunities open to them in getting outside.
“It really is key to long-term good physical and mental health.”
Alex O’Reilly, 15, who was involved in the project, added: “What I love most about being outdoors is its ability to boost your mood, the sense of adventure and of course the fresh relaxing air.
“It was an honour to contribute to help spread such an important and significant message – go outdoors.”