Ecotherapy for mental health

Spring 2014
Paul Farmer

I hear time and again from Mind supporters who have visited their GP in need of support for mild to moderate depression and anxiety, only to be handed antidepressants and sent on their way. At Mind, we believe in a broader approach to treatment, that alternative therapies can play a vital role in recovery.This is why we set up the Ecominds outdoor therapies scheme and continue, through articles like this, to argue the benefits of exercise as a form of therapy.

Summary

Over the past five years Mind has funded 130 ecotherapy projects as part of our Ecominds scheme, with support from the Big Lottery Fund. In this article I want to reflect on the impact that ecotherapy, from gardening to environmental conservation work, has had on the lives of over 12,000 people with ,and at risk of, developing mental health problems, and how our Ecominds scheme stands as a shining example of the varied benefits of a holistic approach to treatment.

First Paragraph

Some of you are probably doing some type of ecotherapy without even realising it. When you’re digging your gardening, enjoying a woodland walk – or even taking a gentle stroll in your local park, being active in nature will be benefiting your physical and mental wellbeing. We’ve applied this thinking to organised groups where people with a range of mental health problems can enjoy the therapeutic benefits of gardening, food growing and conservation work, with some impressive results.