Most of us see nature as important in our own lives. Taking a break, or having a holiday often means being in nature: being by or in water, walking or gardening. There is increasing evidence that engaging with nature can not only help people relax from the stresses and strains of everyday life, it can also help reduce mental health symptoms across a range of disorders.
Based on this evidence, we encourage those with mental health issues, where appropriate, to engage more directly with nature-based groups.
These groups or activities are sustainable because they are usually cheap to run, have low environmental impacts and are socially inclusive. This evidence is outlined in a wide range of papers (PDF).
Our Green Care lead on the College's Sustainability committee is Dr Alan Kellas.
On this page you can find a range of resources about green care, including podcasts, interviews with Dr Kellas, reports and slides.
Podcast interviews showing that green care is effective
We talked to Michelle who lived with anxiety and depression for over two decades and recently got involved with a Wildlife Trust in Lancashire called MyPlace.
Dr Katherine Kennet, joined us to discuss the importance of integrating the natural world with more traditional therapy and how she would encourage other mental health professionals to use ecotherapy.
We interviewed psychotherapist Roger Duncan. Roger spoke about his fascinating research into attachment styles, the wilderness and his vital work connecting teenagers to their natural environment.
Our Green Care lead on our Sustainability and Planetary Health Committee, Dr Alan Kellas, was interviewed on Radio 4: Listen to the interview.
He has also prepared a recommended reading list.
An interview with Dr Kellas also appeared in the RCPsych Insight magazine (see page 16).
Recently, a model has been devised of how different people at different times can engage with nature to improve their health (image).
Find out more
- Read about how you can access local nature-based groups or activities
- Explore reports and guidance in this area
- Learn how to take a nature-based history
- Explore the BJPsych Green Psychiatry Collection of papers
- Slides from Dr Becca Lovell's talk on the Ecological Crisis and CAMHS and Professor Miles Richardson's Mental Health Through Nature Connectedness
- Resources to promote Green Walking in mental health recovery