Increasing studies show that the best way to improve both children’s and adults mental health, is to have more access to the outside – in particular more green spaces such as forests, beaches and/or open land.
Below are some statements found on the RSPB‘s website regarding their stance on improving mental health.
‘The countryside can be seen as a great outpatient department whose therapeutic value is yet to be fully realised.’ Dr William Bird, report author.
‘Sociable walking is recommended around the world as a simple, cheap and popular form of exercise. In contrast to more structured exercise, such as visiting the gym or team sports, walking is highly accessible even to high-risk health groups.’
‘Varied and wildlife-rich natural environments with inspiring landscapes are most effective in promoting sociable walking and a healthier lifestyle. Time spent in natural environments is known to promote a positive outlook on life and enhance our ability to cope with, and recover from, stress, illness and injury.’
‘Nature Prescriptions recognises the benefits of nature on reducing blood pressure, reducing anxiety and increasing happiness as well as the growing disconnection with nature throughout society.’
‘Top tips for being happier with the help of nature:
-Unplug yourself. Leave your phone, camera and all other gadgets at home. Technology can often be distracting and can limit the nature you see or hear.
-Try and find at least one hour a week, whether you’re in your garden, local green space or an RSPB reserve to unwind and relax.
-If you have children or grandchildren, get them outside and start them off young! Engaging children with wildlife at a young age is not only good for them but there’s also nothing like seeing the smile on their face as they go on a wild adventure.
-Nature can be a great way to connect with people. The RSPB has a network of friendly volunteer-run local groups across the country where you can meet like-minded people who care passionately about our natural world.
-Equally, quality time alone is important and there’s nothing better than submerging yourself in nature with a good book. Or simply walk around to clear a busy mind.’