New handbook to help prescribe nature for mental health and wellbeing

The European Centre for Environment and Human Health has produced this handbook. They say:

“Understanding how the power of nature can help people improve their mental health and overcome conditions such as depression, anxiety and stress has been boosted thanks to a new handbook.

The resource, from researchers at the University of Exeter, provides guidance and best practice for organisations providing Nature on Prescription, helping them to develop beneficial, safe and sustainable services. …

Nature on Prescription is one form of social prescribing through which people can self-refer or be referred by a health or social care professional to engage proactively with nature. A growing body of evidence shows that spending time in nature improves mental health and wellbeing. Increasingly, charities and other organisations are providing activities to meet this need, which may encompass volunteering, walking, arts or crafts or other ways to engage people in spending time outdoors.

Professor Ruth Garside at the European Centre for Environment & Human Health at the University of Exeter, said: “Our own research has shown that spending time in green and blue spaces can significantly benefit mental health, and reduce anxiety and depression, and Covid-19 lockdowns have shone a spotlight on how many people wanted to get out into nature. It’s great to see organisations providing activities to facilitate this green connection, and our new handbook is designed to ensure people are supported to achieve the best possible outcomes for participants’ mental health.”

The project is supported by the Medical Research Council’s (MRC) Public Health Intervention Development (PHIND) fund. and is a collaboration between the University of Exeter and NIHR ARC South West Peninsula. It draws on both research evidence and the experience of organisations who provide nature-based prescriptions. Among them is the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT), which provides a range of activities at its sites, including its Somerset locations of Steart Marshes at Sedgemoor and The Meads, at Bridgwater …”

You can read/find out more from here.

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