HUNDREDS gathered for a sunrise swim in Penarth to mark World Mental Health Day.
World Mental Health Day is an annual event, held on October 10, which aims to raise awareness on mental health; according to NHS Wales 25 per cent of people will experience mental health problems at some point in their lives.
Swimming group, Dawnstalkers, were joined by mental health charity The Jacob Abraham Foundation and RNLI Penarth on their regular early morning swim to mark the occasion, with hundreds taking the plunge at Penarth Seafront.
On a social media post Dawnstalkers reported that 283 people attended, and member Lene Hops wrote: “It [the sea] was there when we needed to connect with ourselves, it helped us refocus on what is important in life: Mindfulness. Calmness. Mental Health.
”The Seafront is our safe place, we share it with like-minded people every morning, very close friendships have begun there before sunrise and people have found a place to just be.
“We are so grateful to have been able to connect so many people with each other and give them a reason to get out of bed first thing in the morning, being excited to leave the house and do something that they love before they start working.”
Cold water swimming (also known as wild swimming) can improve mental wellbeing in the following ways:
- Boosting dopamine levels and increasing the release of endorphins.
- Keeping people fit and healthy.
- Helping people connect with nature and be mindful.
- Helping build up mental resilience, which can potentially reduce anxiety.
Plus, being part of a swimming group means people can form friendships and avoid feeling isolated.
The Jacob Abraham Foundation described the event as “a beautiful start to the day with an overwhelmingly wonderful turn out”.
In a social media post the charity wrote: “It was comforting to see so much support shown by so many people and how enjoying the water safely can have such a positive impact on your mental health.”