Looking at how Land Trust sites can improve mental health and wellbeing on the 70th birthday of the NHS

5th July 2018

On the 70th birthday of the NHS, one of the key messages coming through from the healthcare sector in recent months is the importance of good mental wellbeing.

Part of good wellbeing is feeling happy, confident and engaged with the world around you. It helps us to function properly on a day to day basis and enjoy life.

More and more studies are now going into the benefits of good mental health and wellbeing, which include effects on life expectancy, recovery from illness, and life satisfaction.

The NHS has released their ‘5 steps to mental wellbeing’, which are simple yet effective:

  • Connect – connect with the people around you: your family, friends, colleagues, and neighbours. Spend time developing these relationships.
  • Be active – you don’t have to go to the gym. Take a walk, go cycling or play a game of football. Find an activity you enjoy and make it part of your life.
  • Keep learning – learning new skills can give you a sense of achievement and a new confidence.
  • Give to others – even the smallest act can count, whether it’s a smile, a thank you or a kind word. Larger acts, such as volunteering, can improve your mental wellbeing and help you build new social networks.
  • Be mindful – be more aware of the present moment, including your thoughts and feelings, your body and the world around you. Some people call this awareness ‘mindfulness’. It can positively change the way you feel about life and how you approach challenges.

Making use of green space that surrounds us can be paramount to our mental health and wellbeing. It provides a setting for people to keep active, socialise, to escape the stress of daily life, and to learn. The Land Trust has conducted research into the effects of green space on people’s mental health and wellbeing, which revealed that 9 out of 10 people asked, felt that our green spaces play a positive part in their happiness and wellbeing.

25% of the people asked in our study said that they use our green spaces to relieve stress, and over 50% use them for exercise, leisure and recreation. In fact, nearly 15,000 people took part in health activities on our sites in 2015/16. These included woodland workouts, Green Gyms, Nordic walking, Thai Chi and buggy walking.

We are committed to encouraging a healthy lifestyle and the positive effect that well-managed green space can have on this. In the long term, the more people who benefit from our sites with a healthy lifestyle and good mental health and wellbeing, the more we can reduce pressure on the NHS.

The NHS faces uncertainty about its future, with the demand growing, staffing shortages and increases in costs. Could encouraging the use of activity on green space relieve some of the pressure?

 

 

For information on future activities on our sites, please see below:

  • Laughter is the best medicine – sessions on laughter for health, happiness and helping with life’s challenges. Countess of Chester Country Park, Friday 13th July at 12:30 and 17:45.
  • Parkrun – a weekly 5k event which takes place on some of our sites. Check our sites page to see where the next one near you is.
  • Many activities for health take place at our sites. Keep an eye out on our social feeds to find out more information.

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NHS staff in park

I enjoy working at The Land Trust because of the trust that they put in me to be actively involved in projects, and I feel influential in decision making. As a Graduate this provided me with great professional experience across a broad range of disciplines, that'll ultimately be very beneficial for my future career.

Joe Heath, Development Officer

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