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Wetlands for wellbeing: piloting a nature-based health intervention for the management of anxiety and depression

Maund, Phoebe R., Irvine, Katherine N., Reeves, Jonathan, Strong, Emily, Cromie, Ruth, Dallimer, Martin, Davies, Zoe G. (2019) Wetlands for wellbeing: piloting a nature-based health intervention for the management of anxiety and depression. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 16 (22). p. 4413. ISSN 1660-4601. (doi:10.3390/ijerph16224413)


Nature-based health interventions (NBIs) for the treatment of poor mental health are becoming increasingly common, yet evidence to support their effectiveness is lacking. We conduct a pilot study of a six-week intervention, aiming to engage individuals with wetland nature for the treatment of anxiety and/or depression. We employed a mixed methods design, using questionnaires, focus groups and semi-structured interviews to evaluate the intervention from the perspective of participants (n = 16) and healthcare professionals (n = 2). Results demonstrate significant improvements in mental health across a range of indicators, including mental wellbeing (Warwick and Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale), anxiety (Generalised Anxiety Disorder-7), stress (Perceived Stress Scale) and emotional wellbeing (Positive and Negative Affect Schedule). Participants and healthcare professionals cited additional outcomes including improved physical health and reduced social isolation. The wetland site provided a sense of escape from participants’ everyday environments, facilitating relaxation and reductions in stress. Wetland staff knowledge of the natural world, transportation and group organisation also played a considerable role in the intervention’s success. These aspects should be considered in future and existing NBIs to maximise benefits to participants. We propose NBIs based in wetlands are an effective therapy option for individuals diagnosed with anxiety and/or depression.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.3390/ijerph16224413
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH75 Conservation (Biology)
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation > DICE (Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology)
Depositing User: Zoe Davies
Date Deposited: 11 Nov 2019 12:53 UTC
Last Modified: 22 Jan 2020 04:13 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Davies, Zoe G.:
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