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Thursday, May 25, 2023
1 p.m. ET / 10 a.m. PT

Connecting Your Mind, Body, and Surroundings: Nature as a Form of Healing

May is Mental Health Awareness month, and this year Mental Health America is spreading education and awareness through our campaign, Look Around, Look Within in effort to amplify how our environments impact mental health.

When thinking about our physical environment, it’s important to consider how we can use nature to support and heal our mental health. Being connected to nature physically, spiritually, and culturally can promote positive mental health within ourselves and communities. There are many ways in which people have done this throughout history and across cultures that have evolved into a variety of practices today. Join Mental Health America and guests for this webinar where we will hear from panelists on how connecting with nature is a part of their lives and how others can incorporate it into practices of self-care.

During this free 60-minute webinar we will:

  • Discuss the positive benefits that being in nature has on our mental health
  • Explore the relationship between nature, spirituality, culture, and mental health
  • Hear from panelists about their experiences with mental health and the connection to nature

Meet the speakers

Vanessa Villanueva is a recent graduate from the University of Hawai'i at Manoa, having earned a bachelor's in natural resource and environmental management with a specialization in community and cultural resource management. As the daughter of Mexican immigrants and having grown up in the Inland Empire of Southern California, community resilience is the focal point in every project Villanueva takes on.

Alma McCormick is a member of the Crow Indian Nation and is the executive director of Messengers for Health, a Crow Indian nonprofit organization located on the Crow Indian reservation in Montana. She is a passionate community leader and activist working to improve the health and well-being of her people. McCormick has many years of successful experience in community-based participatory health research to address health disparities faced by the Crow people.

Juan D. Martinez-Pineda is the senior manager at The Aspen Institute’s Forum for Community Solutions. He is the founder of Fresh Tracks, a community-led, cross-cultural revolution rooted in the healing power of the outdoors. His work has helped to grow the silo-breaking strategy for systems change and youth power building while also lifting up successful stories of civic engagement and community organizing. . Martinez-Pineda was named a National Geographic Explorer in 2011 and a member of the inaugural class of The Explorers Club 50 in 2021 for his work to engage the rising generation of youth to the healing power of the outdoors and culture. He is a TED Speaker, community organizer, author, and is dedicated to bringing the power of equity and justice to life through youth and community-driven solutions.

Kay Rodriguez is the founder of Outerly, a community platform connecting city dwellers to local green spaces and to each other. Her mission is to increase knowledge and access to urban outdoor activities to improve collective mental, physical, and social health. Previously, Kay worked in corporate strategy at Bain & Company, National Geographic, and ExplORer (now GHX).

Learn more about Mental Health Month