Information & Research

Evidence that the outdoors promotes physical & mental well being

Evidence gathered from Mind research

Feel better outside, feel better inside:

Ecotherapy for mental wellbeing, resilience and recovery

From the evidence presented by Mind, it’s clear that ecotherapy has a role to play in building and supporting our wellbeing and resilience, and keeping us all healthy. There are tangible mental wellbeing benefits from being physically active and ecotherapy seems to do this without the participant even realising it. And the added bonus is that they bring benefits to the local environment and community as people get involved in the maintenance and conservation of green spaces.

Ecotherapy is an intervention that improves mental and physical health and wellbeing by supporting people to be active outdoors: doing gardening, food growing or environmental work.

This report provides the people who plan, commission and provide health and social care services with compelling evidence for providing ecotherapy services that can:

  • help people look after their mental wellbeing
  • support people who may be at risk of developing a mental health problem
  • help the recovery of people with existing mental

At least one in four British adults will experience some kind of mental health problem in any one year. Prescriptions for antidepressants are at record levels in England, with 50 million dispensed in 2012. The World Health Organization has predicted that depression will be the second biggest cause of illness worldwide by 2020. Mental health problems place enormous social and economic strains on individuals, their families and communities. For the state there are increased costs and demand for health and social care services and welfare benefits; while tax and national insurance contributions from people who cannot work are also lost.

The cost of mental health problems to the economy in England is estimated to be £105 billion a year:

  • £21.3b for health and social care
  • £30.3b lost economic output
  • £56.6b in human costs

Ecotherapy improves mental wellbeing and meets outcomes across five government-identified areas for action. Ecotherapy uses a life course approach allowing;

  • people to develop skills and positive social relationships
  • it builds strength and resilience with benefits for individuals and the whole community
  • it develops sustainable, connected communities that challenge stigma and promote inclusion
  • it integrates physical and mental health, particularly for groups who are reluctant to increase activity levels
  • promotes purpose and participation enabling people to build self-esteem and confidence levels
  • builds resilience levels so people are better able to withstand difficult times and have a supportive community around them

Please follow this link to read the whole report-

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