New research backs claims that nature can be a form of mental health therapy

The new findings suggest that doctors could prescribe nature as therapy.


Researchers from the University of Essex showed new analysis displaying that wildlife volunteers benefit from a boost in mental health, backing claims that nature could be prescribed as a form of therapy.

The research tracked volunteers across England who join projects of the Wildlife Trusts. The researchers found that half of the people who said to have had a low mental wellbeing improved in 12 weeks of being exposed to nature.

“Getting out in nature makes me feel like I’ve been born again,” said one participant. “It has stopped me living under a duvet all day,” said another participant.

Dominic Higgins from the Wildlife Trusts says: “The evidence is loud and clear – volunteering in wild places while being supported by Wildlife Trust staff has a clear impact on people’s health.”

“It makes people feel better, happier and more connected to other people. The Department of Health should take note – our findings could help reduce the current burden on the NHS because they illustrate a new model of caring for people that does not rely solely on medication and traditional services,” he adds.

University of Essex’s Mike Rogerson, who led this new research, says: “At a time when we are losing count of the crises in local- and national-level health, engagement with these volunteering activities can provide a much-needed antidote for individuals, local areas, and the UK as a whole.”

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