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The links between ‘time in nature’ and increased emotional wellbeing have been well documented. Research studies include:

  • ­The mental health charity Mind ran an ‘ecotherapy scheme’ (Ecominds) which funded 130 environmental projects, including but not specially STH programmes, for people living with mental health problems. Some 803 participants took part. The Authors found that ecotherapy can: ‘be effective in raising mental wellbeing to ‘average’ levels; enhance social inclusion …; be successful in both increasing contact with and connection to nature, enabling participants to benefit further from the associated health and wellbeing benefits; can improve wellbeing and social inclusion and equip participants with useful coping skills; …’ [Bragg, R., Wood, C., Barton J. Ecominds Effects on Wellbeing: an evaluation for Mind (2013)]
  • ­A review of 20 quantitative articles (out of 18,713 initial finds) published in English between 2008 and 2018 concluded that for older adults without dementia, ‘active engagement activities, notably horticultural therapy, can be considered both in long-term care facilities and out-in-the-community settings … to improve different outcomes.’ Significant pre-post improvement was reported in quality of life, anxiety, depression, social relations, physical effects, and cognitive effects. [Nicholas S.O. and others, (2019). The effectiveness of horticultural therapy on older adults: a systematic review’. Journal of Post-Acute and Long-term Care Medicine 20]
  • ­59 cardiac rehabilitation patients participated in horticultural therapy (HT) and 48 in patient education classes. There was a significant improvement in mood for the HT group patients. [Wichrowski M. and others, (2005). Effects of horticultural therapy on mood and heart rate in patients participating in an inpatient cardiopulmonary rehabilitation program’. Journal of cardiopulmonary rehabilitation. 25(5) 270-4]
  • ­Research into the wellbeing benefits of engaging in The Conservation Volunteers’ Green Gym found significant increases in wellbeing after engaging in Green Gym, with the greatest increases in those who had the lowest starting levels of wellbeing. Wellbeing increases were sustained on average 8.5 months and 13 months later in those providing a follow-up measure (n = 92, n = 40, respectively).