More than nine in 10 people taking part in “green” exercise programmes believe the activities benefited their mental health, according to a study published today by charity Mind.
The report argues that “ecotherapy”, which includes gardening projects, walking groups and conservation work, is a “clinically valid treatment option for mental distress” and should be considered as a referral option by GPs.
It says access to green space should be considered as a key issue in care planning and care assessment and health and social care institutions should be required to ensure access to green space.
The study says: “Ecotherapy is a natural, free and accessible treatment that boosts our mental wellbeing. Whether it’s a horticultural development programme supervised by a therapist or a simple walk in the park, being outdoors and being active is proven to benefit our mental health.”
The report was launched to mark the start of Mind Week.