Natural prescription needed to help tackle crisis in mental health

Tuesday 26th January 2016

common blue butterfliesnatural prescription

The Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and the Black Country are calling for greater thought to be given to natural solutions to tackle the mental health crisis in the NHS.

With the numbers of people in contact with mental health services having jumped by more than 40% over the past decade to nearly 2 million and the number of antidepressant prescriptions having surged by more than 100% in the same period there is an urgent need to look for a more sustainable solution with resources in the NHS stretched to breaking point.

Georgia Stokes, Chief Executive of The Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and the Black Country, explains: “Research over many years has shown both the positive effects on people’s wellbeing of spending time engaging with nature and also the negative effects of a lack of contact with the natural environment.

“It is tragic that so many people in this country are suffering from serious mental health problems and the numbers are rising all the time, so it is time to stop and think about an approach that can help to build more resilience. We have measured the effect of time spent doing activities in natural spaces and there is a very definite boost provided to all participants.

“We need to ensure that natural space is planned into our cities and that people are encouraged to get a regular “dose” of nature before they start needing to take expensive drugs.”

Reports today show a 20% increase in serious incidents leading to loss of life and there have also been calls for an investigation to prevent the situation worsening further. The Wildlife Trusts want a broader examination of how we can improve the nation’s mental health with evidence of the benefits of contact with the natural environment forming a key part of building a happier and healthier society.

The Wildlife Trusts run many projects helping to tackle mental health across the country, details of which can be seen here: www.wildlifetrusts.org/tackling-mental-illness

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Tagged with: Health, Nature, Wellbeing