In recognition of Mental Health Awareness Month this May, outdoor retailer L.L.Bean is going “off the grid” and going back to where it all started: the outdoors. Beginning May 2, the company will pause posting across all social channels for the full month, and will wipe its Instagram clean, leaving behind a few resources encouraging people to get outside — however, wherever and whenever they can.
As part of the initiative L.L.Bean also announced a $500,000 grant and two-year partnership with Mental Health America. This partnership will help reach people through community-based, mental health programs, research and multimedia campaigns aimed at creating connection and inclusion in the outdoors and uncovering the benefits of time spent outside on mental wellbeing.
Studies have shown spending time in nature has significant benefits, including greater creativity, lower levels of stress, increased self-esteem and reduced anxiety. Spending time in green spaces, such as a park or other natural environment, for as little as two hours per week, has been shown to have a significant positive impact on both physical and psychological health.
“For more than a century, L.L.Bean has helped enable people to get outside, based on the belief that experiences in nature help bring out the best in us,” said Shawn Gorman, L.L.Bean Executive Chairman and great-grandson of Leon Leonwood Bean. “Now, research confirms what we have always felt intuitively: Going outside is critical for our individual and collective well-being. We are so enthusiastic to partner with Mental Health America to help more people experience the restorative power of the outdoors in their daily lives.”
According to Mental Health America’s President and Chief Executive Officer Schroeder Stribling, reprioritizing time in the outdoors is a simple, powerful act. “Even a simple walk outside can lower your risk of depression, strengthen cognitive function and increase focus. All of these effects improve our mental health and well-being at a time when we need it most,” Stribling said. He added, “Our busy schedules can make it seem impossible to find a few minutes for the outdoors. The good news is that it does not take much to reap the benefits – ten minutes outside here and there will add up over time and lead to better mental health.”
Gorman added, “For those who want to focus on their well-being, spring is a great time to explore the power and beauty of natural life around us. Whether reengaging with nature by having lunch outside, taking a walk around the neighborhood or hiking up a mountain, L.L.Bean invites everyone to take time to head into ‘the great open spaces’ this May and beyond to see what nature can teach us all.”