People with mental health issues must be given opportunities to enjoy the natural world, the director of a Catholic mental health project has warned.
Ben Bano, Director of Welcome Me as I Am, pointed out that green space and the natural world is good for mental health.
“It’s important that we provide opportunities for people with mental health issues to enjoy the natural world,” he told The Universe.
“For example, many mental health in-patient units lack a purpose designed garden where patients can enjoy the stimulation of the natural world,’ he added. “In this way we can offer a genuinely holistic approach to mental health care and support.”
Mr Bano’s call comes as researchers from King’s College London said that being exposed to nature can boost a person’s mental well-being in cities.
They studied the relationship between nature in urban places and mental well-being in real time using smart-phone technology.
The study, published in the journal BioScience, saw more than 100 participants input data about their current environment and mental well-being into an app called Urban Mind.
During the one-week trial, the 108 participants completed 3,013 assessments. The app also used tracked their exact location.
The study, in collaboration with landscape architects J and L Gibbons and art foundation Nomad Projects, found there were both immediate and ‘time lagged’ associations with mental well-being for several natural features including trees, the sky and birdsong.
This was still evident several hours after exposure, the authors found.
Picture: Loch Laxford seen through the hills, close to Foindle on the north-west coast. (PA).