The NHS aims to pilot the scheme, promoting arts and the outdoors as wellbeing therapy, to 11-18 year olds in ten areas of England. They have already targeted 600 youngsters who are on care waiting lists to trial the activities on offer.
Recent studies show that time spent outdoors in nature can have as great an effect on mental health as antidepressants. Research released last year by the mental health charity, MIND, showed the nation’s mental health benefitted from spending more time in nature since the pandemic.
Academics from the University College London are managing the project, which is funded by The Prudence Trust, a charity which focuses on research into young people’s mental health.
Social prescribing has the potential to support young people while they wait by providing access to a range of creative and social activities that could enhance their confidence, self-esteem and social support networkDr Daisy Fancourt, University College London
Olly Parker, from the charity, Young Minds, also commented, “Social prescribing involving activities such as gardening and exercise is a really exciting way of improving mental wellbeing. It looks at people holistically and tries to find non-medicalised ways of helping them through the challenges they may be experiencing.”
Exact dates and locations for the project are yet to be announced but if the trial is successful and research shows that the activities improve mood and wellbeing in young people, it will be adopted across the country.