Ecotherapy: the green agenda for mental health

Document type
Corporate author(s)
MIND (Mental health association)
Date of publication
1 May 2007
Mental health services
Social welfare
Material type

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In this report Mind calls for a new green agenda for mental health, following growing evidence in support of an accessible, cost-effective and natural addition to existing treatment options – ecotherapy. As the cost and prescribing of drugs continues to rise, and 93 per cent of GPs say they have prescribed antidepressants against their better judgement owing to a lack of alternatives, ecotherapy needs to be seen as a clinically valid option that can play a vital part in patients’ recovery. For the one in four people in England and Wales who will experience a mental health problem at some point in their lives there are few treatment options immediately available. In 2005, 27.7 million antidepressant prescriptions were written in England, at a cost of £338 million to the public health service. Ecotherapy, a treatment that is free of unpleasant side-effects, offers a cost-effective and natural addition to existing treatments. The recommendations of this report include: allocation of health and social care budgets should be informed by cost-benefit analysis of ecotherapies; access to green space should be considered as a key issue in all care planning and care assessment; all health, social care and criminal justice institutions should be required to ensure access to green space; and ecotherapy projects should be evaluated to collect data and continue to build an appropriate evidence base.

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