A Newham writer is encouraging women to be inspired by nature in celebration of Mental Health Awareness Week.

Mental health advocate Daniela Bragato, 32, founder of Women MAKE Stories, recognises the importance of the week to talk about the issue, having experienced mental health struggle herself.

This year marked the 21st anniversary of Mental Health Awareness Week, which ran until May 16 and was organised by the Mental Health Foundation, and this year’s theme was nature and the environment.

The foundation’s research has found that one of the most popular ways to sustain good mental health during these challenging times has been to spend time in nature.

A number of initiatives have been offered by charities encouraging people to engage with nature.

Mind in Tower Hamlets and Newham organised a nature themed bingo on May 16.

Daniela, who has a degree in creative and professional writing, spoke to this paper about the pressure that lockdown has put on people, particularly women, and how writing and mindfulness can “help navigate challenges”.

While she was working in communication, Daniela felt she was stuck in her career and decided she needed a change.

That is when she was introduced to mindfulness and soon realised the links with writing.

By attending women’s career events in the creative industry, she started thinking how she could help herself and other women.

Daniela took time off and started a path that would take her to create Women MAKE Stories.

“Writing is a mindful activity in itself. I decided to combine them to give women a space to reconnect with their body and mind.

“Mindfulness is about staying in the present moment and being aware of what’s going on inside and outside ourselves,” she said.

Daniela is offering one-to-one mindfulness writing sessions at Victoria Park in June.

Activities will include meditations, walks and an introduction to mindfulness: all inspired by nature.

“The number one thing for me is that women feel they are in a safe, friendly and non-judgmental space. I see it as giving women a pocket of joy, relaxation and self-compassion.”