Getting out in nature really does help to improve mental wellbeing, according to a new report published on World Mental Health Day. Research by The Wildlife Trusts has found that prescribing contact with nature to people with poor mental health improves their mood and could ease the burden on the NHS.

People experiencing anxiety, stress, and depression reported feeling significantly better – both emotionally and physically – after taking part in outdoor nature conservation projects. Researchers said: ‘Prescribing nature works – and saves money.

‘A natural, community-based approach to health offers an important non-medical service that will deliver health prevention at scale and reduce the current burden on the NHS.’ The report found for every £1 invested in specialised health or social needs projects that connect people to nature, there is a £6.88 social return. It also calculated there is an £8.50 social return for every £1 invested in regular nature volunteering projects, which help create healthy lifestyles by tackling problems such as physical inactivity or loneliness.

Dom Higgins, nature and wellbeing manager at The Wildlife Trusts, said: ‘We want to see the concept of nature on prescription becoming a core part of the NHS mental wellbeing programmes.

By Ellen Scott, as published on in the Metro on 10th October 2019

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