The new Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, recently urged Doctors to suggest social prescribing such as gardening and arts activities rather than anti-depressants.
Bournemouth are one step ahead with a new project launching in late September to offer volunteering sessions within our parks to improve participant’s health and wellbeing.
In 2017 NHS figures show that 7.3 million people were prescribed antidepressants, including 70,000 children. This reveals that one in six adults were given antidepressants, arousing criticism of mass prescribing.
Hancock said: “Evidence has shown the potential benefits of approaches like social prescribing, which addresses people’s physical and mental wellbeing and has been shown to both improve patients’ quality of life and reduce pressure on other NHS services.”
A recent report by Fields in Trust, Revaluing Parks and Green Spaces, found that Parks and green spaces are estimated to save the NHS around £111 MILLION per year based solely on a reduction in GP visits.
The project aims to improve self-esteem, confidence, healthy living and physical activity for the local community, particularly people living with mental health stress.
Peter Holloway, Project Leader for Parks in Mind said: “Through participation, and using the therapeutic power of being outdoors, people will be able to meet up and talk, support each other, and, ultimately, improve their own health whilst creating better parks for their community to enjoy.
“The sessions will take place at Churchill Gardens, Knyveton Road and Shelley Park in Boscombe and Horseshoe Common in Bournemouth. The project will focus on improving people’s wellbeing through fun nature conservation and other outdoor activities designed to improve the local environment. It will also seek to promote a better understanding of mental health in the wider community.”
The project has been funded by People’s Postcode Lottery and Public Health Dorset. Rupert Lloyd, Healthy Places Project Coordinator from Public Health Dorset said: “Spending time in parks and greenspaces is good for our health and we’re excited to be part of this project to enable more people to enjoy spending time in their local park and help enhance those spaces for everyone’s enjoyment”.
For more information or if you’d like to join in the sessions please contact us.