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Mental Health and The Wildlife Trusts, by Dom Higgins

Posted: Friday 12th May 2017 by TheWildlifeTrustsBlogger

Part of our Mental Health Awareness Series. Dom Higgins is the Health and Wellbeing Manager for The Wildlife Trusts.

Nature based interventions need to be seriously considered as a preventative service, an early intervention, and treatment option – all in one service

In a previous blog, I made the case for a natural health service for mental health in the UK; the quote here is from Mind’s Head of Community Programmes and Grants, Gavin Atkins. It shows that the role of nature is starting to be taken seriously, and more importantly, gain credibility within the health sector. 

Gavin’s blog, is one of a series being written for Mental Health Awareness Week, which also include a personal and through-provoking piece on Bird Therapy, by Joe Harkness

If evidence were needed to demonstrate the power of nature every day, then you could do a lot worse than look at the reaction and comment created by a simple Facebook post that asked people to share why wildlife and wild places mattered to them – here are just 3 of many:

“I get anxiety quite bad, and I can honestly say nature is the best thing to help me”

“My son has autism, ADHD and anxiety and he is only 9 but being out in nature and looking for bugs or (looking) at the animals is the best therapy. It turns a stressed out and anxious boy into a calm and relaxed child. It's our therapy xx”

“I volunteer with The Wildlife Trust and other places to spend meaningful time outside, learning about, (and) helping to conserve, and enjoying our wild spaces. Taking care of our mental health is as important as any other aspect of our health and being outside in the fresh air, amongst nature, exploring and being active, provides really powerful healing for everyone

The Wildlife Trusts like to combine these powerful, truthful testaments to the power of nature, with rigour. This report by the University of Essex’s adds to the ever-growing body of research which shows that Nature is good for you. Its key insight is that wildlife-rich environments don’t just keep you physically healthy, they also reduce stress, improve mood, and reduce social isolation, and The Wildlife Trusts make a significant contribution to the nation’s health and well-being.

Engaging with nature every day is about small actions that don’t require loads of equipment, time or effort. Try it out this June by going 30 Days Wild - you might be surprised at its effect.

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