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For Third Year, L.L.Bean Goes “Off the Grid” for Mental Health Awareness Month, Stepping Away from Social Media and Into the Outdoors

Each May for Mental Health Awareness Month, the outdoor retailer goes "off the grid" – clearing it's Instagram grid, pausing posting on social media, and encouraging followers to join them in prioritizing time outside.

In recognition of May’s Mental Health Awareness Month, outdoor retailer L.L.Bean is going “off the grid,” completely clearing its Instagram grid, pausing posting across all social media channels, and encouraging followers to join them in prioritizing time outside – whenever, wherever and however they can. The company will kick-off the annual initiative on May 1, inviting followers to break from scrolling and instead head outside as a proven way to nurture one’s mental wellbeing.

On par with diet, exercise and quality sleep, research shows spending time in nature has measurable mental health benefits, including greater creativity, lower stress, increased self-esteem and reduced anxiety. The company says its annual commitment to go “off the grid” in May is central to its longstanding company purpose.

“Prioritizing time outside isn’t just about embracing our company purpose; it’s about nurturing our individual wellbeing,” said Shawn Gorman, L.L.Bean Executive Chairman of the Board and great-grandson of founder Leon Leonwood Bean. “At L.L.Bean, we recognize the profound and tangible impact of time spent outside on our mental wellness, and we’re proud to partner with Mental Health America, which plays a key role in increasing outdoor access through research and wellness programs. And, new this year, our ‘Be An Outsider’ challenge on NatureDose will help people better understand their time outside and how it positively impacts their wellbeing. Our hope is more people can take a step back, assess their priorities and create new habits centered around spending a bit more time outside this month.”

Partnership with Mental Health America
L.L.Bean will continue its multi-year partnership with Mental Health America (MHA) to support and improve mental wellbeing by increasing access to outdoor programs. Since 2022, L.L.Bean has committed $500,000 to MHA, including 10 $20,000 mini-grants to its affiliates, enabling 8,045 hours of outdoor activities, including hiking, swimming, biking, horseback riding, forest bathing and more for program participants.

“Being outdoors, even if it’s just in the backyard or a city park or garden, helps improve mood, reduces stress, and supports our mental well-being,” said Schroeder Stribling, President and Chief Executive Officer of Mental Health America. “Mental Health Month is a great time to start connecting with nature and we are thrilled to team up with L.L.Bean to highlight the importance of spending time outdoors.”

“Be An Outsider” Challenge on NatureDose
To encourage time outdoors this May, L.L.Bean will also host a “Be An Outsider” challenge on NatureDose, an innovative app by NatureQuant® that serves as a “nature prescription,” helping users better understand their time spent outside. According to NatureQuant, there is an overwhelming body of scientific literature that links exposure to nature to improvements in physiological and psychological health. In addition to helping users track and monitor time spent outdoors, those who complete the app challenge will receive 15% off one full-price item from L.L.Bean.

Jared Hanley, Chief Executive Officer of NatureQuant, said of the NatureDose app: “While the health benefits of time in nature are generally accepted, and many doctors already prescribe time outside as a tool for wellness, there was no scalable or convenient way to measure or motivate nature exposure. A simple walk in the park can really decrease your stress and help you sleep better, but without a nudge, we were finding that many people spent days on end without ever going outside. The NatureDose app is designed to remind people to get outside. Time in nature is a powerful, safe, and low-cost health intervention we should all be utilizing.”

Mental Wellbeing at L.L.Bean
In addition to helping foster outdoor mental wellbeing for its customers and communities, L.L.Bean offers its 5,500 global employees a variety of programming centered around mental health. The company provides all employees with Outdoor Experience Days, paid days off that employees can use to spend time outdoors. Last year alone, L.L.Bean employees spent more than 78,000 hours participating in outdoor activities as part of the program. Moreover, L.L.Bean was recently awarded Mental Health America’s Platinum Bell Seal for Workplace Mental Health, a national certification program that recognizes employers committed to creating mentally healthy workplaces.

Visit L.L.Bean’s Instagram profile beginning May 1 to view expert resources, tools and tips for getting outside this Mental Health Awareness Month. To explore Mental Health America’s resources, visit mhanational.org/may. For more information on L.L.Bean’s partnership with Mental Health America, visit mhanational.org/llbean. For more information on the NatureDose app by NatureQuant, visit naturequant.com/naturedose.