Tree hugger 13 Amazing and Critically Endangered Frogs, by Margaret Badore, September 11, 2020 Photo Credit Mark Newman / Getty Images
Mental Health and Frogs
Mental Health Awareness Month begins on May 1. Do frogs have anything to do with mental health, or mental health with frogs? Of course, as a psychiatrist-frogaphile, I think so!. Read on to see how.
Amphibian Week is only three years old, and was started for just about the same reason as any other remembrance day (although we are hoping that amphibians don’t become just a memory). This commemoration came about in 2020 at the initiation of Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (PARC) to celebrate and create awareness of the importance of amphibians.
The National Park service has taken up the banner and refers to PARC‘s program every day of the week. Parc is collecting videos from biologists, offers a social media tool kit and ideas for activities, and is running an art contest. Use #AmphibianWeek, #AmphibianWeek2023 to share.
In an article for World Amphibian Week, in News on Air, May 4, Rupa Kumari asks why amphibians are important. Included in his article, summarized here:
- Amphibians eat pests, which is beneficial for agriculture, and in controlling diseases like malaria and more.
- The skin of amphibians contains different types of peptides and offers the possibility of medical cures for several human diseases. At present, they are also used in some painkillers.
- Amphibians are ecological indicators. Due to a high degree of sensitivity, they are studied and indicate habitat fragmentation, ecosystem stress, the impact of pesticides, and various anthropogenic activities.
- They warn us of climate change, pollution, viral, fungal, and bacterial diseases, radiation, chemical contamination
Common pesticides ‘can kill frogs within an hour’ – The Guardian: For example, application at the recommended rate of a fungicide called Headline (pyraclostrobin), used on 90 crops around the world, will kill a frog within an hour.
This is only one reason is why I and many others beg you not to use chemicals on your property. And this fact was known in 2013!
What’s Being Done Locally
You guessed it! On May 7 A Frog House, funded in part by a grant from SAVE THE FROGS!, is holding a celebration of the International Fifteenth Save The Frogs Day (Pittsford’s Fifth). Please join us at a special venue (50 Mitchell Road at the home of Kara Kotwas and Mark Wochner) and hear our special guest speaker John Bateman talk about frogs and help you and your family identify them in the Mitchell Road pond/marsh.
Please register at the bottom of the event website page so we can plan snacks, chairs, prizes, handouts, etc.
Besides a nature based scavenger hunt, games and booths to visit, we will have a circle conversation at the end (all ages included) about our shared purpose and identity, and what each of us can do to improve our world where we live. Whether you join us or not, please think about this question whereever you are.
Mental Health Awareness Month
Mental Health Awareness Month has been observed since 1949, started by what is now known as the Mental Health America organization.
The original association was founded by a 73 year old male, Clifford Beers, who along with his four siblings, spent time in mental institutions for mental illness and psychological health. He wrote “A Mind That Found Itself”, published in 1908, after a miraculous recovery from severe psychosis.
Psychiatrists and other medical professionals were so impressed with his work uncovering bias, malpractice and maltreatment, that they supported his founding of the National Committee for Mental Hygiene in 1909 to examine ways of better supporting patients in feeling supported and getting proper care.
In 1913, Beers opened the first outpatient mental health clinic in the United States. In 1949, the World Federation for Mental Health was formed.
Benefits of Nature to Mental Health
The Mental Health Foundation in the UK observes Mental Health Awareness Week from October 1 to October 7. In an article in 2021 called “How connecting with nature benefits our mental health” the authors summarize “the evidence of how and why our relationship with nature is so important and beneficial to our mental health”.
In an article in The Conversation called “Biodiversity And Our Brains: How Ecology And Mental Health Go Together In Our Cities” (October 12, 2022), Zoe Myers demonstrates that biodiversity as well as green spaces boosts the benefits to not only the sustainability of plants and animals, but our own physical and mental health.
It’s well-established that green spaces are good for our well-being. Now science can demonstrate what we intuitively have known, that greater biodiversity boosts this benefit, as well as helping to sustain native plants and animals.
Our senses take in the sounds of wind, birds and frogs and smells of wildflowers which in turn stimulates areas of the brain, bringing about improvements in cognition, creativity and calmness. No wonder most gardeners, foresters, and environmentalists are so happy!
Our sense of balance, equilibrium, temperature, and our sense of ourselves in space are also improved by being in nature.
Pulling It All Together: Frogs and Mental Health
In article in Froglife called “Croaking Science: The Benefits Of Green Spaces And Nature On Mental Health” on March 29, 2022, elaborate with references to studies of decrease in depression and anxiety, reduction in cortisol levels (a reaction to stress), thus buffering the impacts of stressful life events.
Although they are not explicit with the connection, we know that where healthy frogs gather, the environment is healthy, and people can benefit.
- Facilitate connection with nature
- Protect the natural environment and restoring biodiversity
- Improve access to nature
- Use the planning system and urban design to improve the visibility and availability of nature in every local area
- Make green spaces safe for all
- Build and Develop a life-long relationship with nature
GRI’s article (link under photo), “Global standard for biodiversity impacts one step closer” include the guidelines for businesses, which you can read at the link above.
What’s Being Done Locally
Some groups and organizations that are facilitating engagement with nature for kids in our area include the Boys and Girls Club, Kids Out and About, Boy Scouts of America, Girl Scouts of Western NY, and Inclusive Woods and Us.
There are 29 listed Most Popular Rochester Environment Nonprofits and Charities, most of which include outdoor activities. The best known adult outdoor environmental organizations include the Adirondack Mountain ClubGenesee Land Trust, Genesee Valley Hiking Club, and the Sierra Club.
On Wednesday, April 26 2023
Plant Eastern White Pine trees with A Frog House to Rehab Habitat and Capture Carbon with the help and assistance of Cub Scouts #206 and leader Steven Brauksieck, as well as of Jane Coggshall McConnochie.
We will meet at the Deblase trailhead off Sugarbush Lane in Pittsford at 4:30pm, with work gloves and water. There are no restroom facilities, so plan accordingly. Register here.
On Friday, April 28, 2023
Arbor Day Celebration at Highland Park at 11 am. Meet here.
On Thursday and Friday, April 27 and 28, 2023
If you are footloose and fancy free, join us with SAVE THE FROGS! to help build wetlands in Illinois for Save The Frogs Day
On Saturday and Sunday, April 29 and 30, 2023
Birds of Prey Days On Saturday, Shubham Parkhe, MD and on Sunday, Bonnie Abrams, both team members of A Frog House, will be tabling for your information and pleasure.
On Sunday, May 7, Fifteenth Annual Save the Frogs Day (Pittsford’s Fifth Annual).
Please join A Frog House at a special venue (50 Mitchell Road at the home of Kara Kotwas and Mark Wochner) and hear our special guest speaker
John Bateman talk about frogs and help you and your family identify amphibians in the Mitchell Road pond/marsh.We will end with a circle discussion for all ages about our shared purposes and interests, what thoughts and feelings might keep us from acting pro-socially, what outsiders might see in our behaviors, and how we wish to be seen. Improve your mental health!
Please register, so we can plan snacks, chairs, prizes, handouts, etc.