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The primary benefits of STH are on the health and wellbeing of participants. There are, however, positive impacts on the environment from STH activities – these are considered to be a secondary benefit.

Conversely, activities primarily aimed at creating environmental gains will have secondary benefits for the health and wellbeing of the participants.

It is important that there is clarity about activities designed to have a priority focus on the health and wellbeing of the person and those where those are a secondary focus as achieving those benefits will be less certain.

The diagram below aims to relate the relative focus on the person to the different levels of mental health as described in the model located here. As mental ill health becomes more acute, the focus on the person is more essential.

  • Where mental health is good, a focus on environmental issues may be the appropriate ‘hook’ with which to help a person to connect with nature and develop positive behaviours grounded in nature that can help to maintain good mental health.
  • Environmental gain may still be realised from activities used when working with a person with severe or complex mental ill health, but these will be incidental rather than an intentional design of the interventions.
STH VS Environmental Action