CMHA-NL is pleased to partner with the East Coast Trail Association (ECTA) to promote the important connection between mental health and physical health. The two charitable organizations are also emphasizing time spent in nature as another way to practice self-care this season.

“Many people know intentional movement and staying physically active can help give our mental health a positive boost [1],” said John Abbott, CEO of CMHA-NL. “Spending time in nature can also help to improve our overall sense of wellbeing.”

Recent data from CMHA National shows the pandemic has given rise to an increase in mental health issues, such as anxiety, depression and stress.

“When a person’s routine is turned upside-down and the social determinants of health, such as housing and food security, social connection, and physical health are impacted, it can lead to mental health issues—even if the person has not previously experienced any,” said Abbott.

Coupled with winter blues, which 15% of people in Canada experience, and seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which about 2-3% of people in Canada experience [2], it is a good time to pay closer attention to your mental health and build positive self-care practices that support your overall wellbeing.

“Just like physical health, we all have mental health and we need to do what we can to protect, maintain, and improve it,” said Abbott.

It has been proven that spending time in green spaces (like forests, gardens and parks) can significantly reduce cortisol (stress hormone), and raise endorphin levels and dopamine production (both of which may promote “happiness”) [3].

With the winter season upon us in Newfoundland and Labrador, green spaces are not always easy to come by; however, when prepared for the elements, time spent in the great outdoors can still benefit our mental health.




 Looking for more support?


• Check out these six tips to help beat the winter + pandemic blues from our friends at CMHA-Ontario.

• Try a mindfulness grounding meditation or an outdoor walking meditation.

• Reclaim your health with CMHA’s BounceBack®, a free skill-building program designed to help adults and youth 15+ manage low mood, mild to moderate depression and anxiety, stress or worry. Delivered over the phone with a coach and through online videos, BounceBack offers tools that will support Newfoundlanders and Labradorians on their path to mental wellness. For more information, visit

• For non-emergency support, call the Health Line at 811 and ask for information on your regional Doorways service.

• Call CHANNAL for province-wide peer support for a respectful, understanding and non judgmental listening ear. 1-855-753-2560

• For crisis support, call the Mental Health Crisis Line at 1-888-737-4668.

• Text ‘HOME’ to 686868 to text with a volunteer Crisis Responder who will help you move from a hot moment to a cool calm. The Crisis Text Line, powered by Kids Help Phone, serves anyone in any type of crisis, providing access to free, 24/7 support and information.



[2] Levitt, A.J., Boyle, M.H., Joffe, R.T., & Baumal, Z. 2000. Estimated prevalence of the seasonal subtype of major depression in a Canadian community sample. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 45(7), 650-654.


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