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A call for the improvement of outdoor facilities to help people exercise and maintain good mental health during coronavirus has been made as part of a study into the effects of the pandemic.

Councils should get more money to improve the physical environment in neighbourhoods to create safe spaces for outdoor activities, according to the Mental Health Foundation.

It also wants the government to protect access to nature as part ‘of a sustainable wellbeing economy and an inclusive health and wellbeing strategy’.

The recommendations follow a study of 4,000 people which the foundation did with academics from Cambridge, Swansea, Belfast and Strathclyde universities into how resilient people’s mental health has been during Covid-19.

Although people’s ability to cope was high at the start of lockdown, that has since declined, particularly among 18-24-year-olds.

The research showed that spending time in a green space has been key for many, with half of UK adults visiting a green space in August as a way of coping with the stress of the pandemic.

‘All focus group participants agreed that access to nature, green spaces, open spaces and plants (e.g. gardens, parks, allotments, balconies with plants, the seaside, water, etc.) has helped them to cope and is crucially important for wellbeing,’ noted the report.

Read the report here.

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