Mental Health Awareness week 2021: Monday 10th May – Sunday 16th May.
A fairly new form of therapy for people struggling with their well-being is eco therapy which is a formal type of therapeutic treatment involving outdoor activities in nature such as growing a food supply. In 2013 the charity Mind completed their 5 year scheme which included 130 eco therapy projects and 800 participants. The data gathered from these sites was independently analysed by the University of Essex. They found that statistically there were significant;
· Increases in measures of wellbeing and self-esteem
· Decreases in mood disturbance, anxiety and depression
· Improvement in social connection and friendships being made
Overall the majority of people who took part in these projects reported feeling stronger both emotionally and physically with continued invaluable peer support and the building of strong friendships. With mental health related costs in the UK estimated at £105 billion per year, therapies involving nature and natural settings such as these are being used more and more widely due the low cost and the success stories from participants.
Types of eco therapy include;
· Adventure therapy – This involves doing adventurous activities such as rafting and rock climbing
· Animal assisted interventions – This involves spending time with animals perhaps on a farm relaxing with and petting them
· Care farming – This centres around therapeutic farming activities such as growing crops or feeding livestock