Head for the water

What a good plan.

Hundreds of people experiencing poor mental health will be introduced to the natural beauty of wetlands under a “blue prescribing” scheme.

In London, this is.

There is increasing evidence of the benefits of nature for mental health and wellbeing. A recent pilot wetlands project showed that people diagnosed with anxiety or depression moved up a clinical mental health grade, from below average to average.

I swear by this. I’m not afflicted with anxiety or depression but I can testify that getting outside always elevates my mood. (Well…one exception – when the air is in the red zone.) A clear bright breezy day elevates it into the stratosphere, as does going to the Lake or the Sound or a distant viewpoint or the like.

Now a scheme will start this summer at the WWT London Wetland Centre in the UK with six-week wetlands courses co-designed by the WWT, the Mental Health Foundation and participants themselves. Activities could include birdwatching, pond dipping, nature walks and habitat protection work. Participants’ travel costs are to be funded and their progress assessed using standard medical questionnaires.

Very good plan.

Previous schemes involving activities such as wildlife volunteering noted clear improvements in mental health. YouGov polling for the Mental Health Foundation found that being near lakes, rivers and the sea – ahead of time spent in gardens, parks and the countryside – was rated the highest by people in terms of having a positive impact on their mental health.

Heh. What I just said – Lake or Sound. Seattle is really exceptional in having not one but two large bodies of water promoting our mental health.

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