NATURE can help those suffering with mental health issues says Warwickshire Wildlife Trust (WWT).
A national study – entitled ‘The Health and Wellbeing Impacts of Volunteering with The Wildlife Trusts’ – assessed changes in nearly 140 participants’ attitudes, behaviour and mental wellbeing over 12 weeks of nature conservation activities. Two-thirds reported an improvement in their mental wellbeing after six weeks.
Volunteers also reported significantly enhanced feelings of positivity, increased general health and higher levels of physical activity.
Trust manager Dominic Higgins said: “The evidence is loud and clear – volunteering in wild places while being supported by Wildlife Trust staff has a clear impact on people’s health, it makes people feel better, happier and more connected to other people.
“The Department of Health should take note – our findings could help reduce the current burden on the National Health Service because they illustrate a new model of caring for people that does not rely solely on medication and traditional services.”
And WWT recently launched two projects – in Coventry and Solihull – to offer support to people experiencing mental health issues or those with learning difficulties, and is already seeing a positive impact.
Visit www.warwickshirewildlifetrust.org.uk for further details.