A leading mental health charity, Mind, will call for a new green agenda for mental health.
By green, they mean outdoor walks and gardening. Their report of this kind of approach to treatment of depression states that it should be used either in addition, or as an alternative to conventional drug and psychological therapy.

The so called Ecotherapy would include activities such as walks, gardening or conservation projects, exercise and even working on a farm. It has proven to be beneficial for people’s health and wellbeing and has helped improve symptoms of depression and boost self-esteem.

The principles behind ecotherapy are not new. Most of the mental health institutions were often set in gardens and natural landscapes in the past. Today, however, the idea of wide open spaces no longer plays a significant role in planning of hospitals and towns. Today, all doctors can do is prescribe an antidepressant medication and maybe consider a psychological therapy due to the lack of alternative forms of treatment.

Two studies have found that taking part in green exercise benefits health and wellbeing. The first study included a gardening project, walking groups and conservation work. It proved to be beneficial to 94% of the study participants. The second study compared the effects of an outdoor walk in a country park, compared to an indoor walk, around a shopping centre, on self-esteem, depression and tension. Outdoor walks had boosted self-esteem of nine out of ten people with symptoms of depression compared to 17% for the indoor walk.

Ecotherapy is a natural, free and accessible treatment that boosts the mental wellbeing and should be an option for people who suffer from mental health problems.