Global Action Plan publishes briefing paper on mental health and access to nature

Global Action Plan today announced the launch of its latest briefing paper, titled “Mental Health and Access to Nature.” 

Our latest publication explores the benefits of spending time in nature and makes the case for greater, and more equitable, access to nature for all. 

Our research summarises the evidence that it is good for your body and soul to be out in nature. People living in areas with parks and waterways tend to be less stressed, more physically active, less lonely and happier. But our paper also shows that access to nature is unevenly distributed, with many urban communities feeling that green spaces are not within easy or safe access to them. 

The briefing paper’s key finding is a resounding affirmation of the positive impact on mental health of spending time in nature. Drawing from a wealth of research, it shows how the simple act of engaging with green spaces can significantly improve overall wellbeing and mental health, providing a compelling argument for integrating nature into our daily lives.

The report also emphasises the inherent inequity of access to green spaces in urban areas. It underscores how certain demographics are disproportionately affected by limited access to nature, which can exacerbate existing disparities in health and wellbeing. 

Our briefing paper provides insights on how we can increase access to green spaces in urban areas. In particular, it highlights the importance of community gardens, such as the ones Global Action Plan is operating in the Dublin area in partnership with Dublin City Council and Fingal County Council.

People who are involved in community gardens not only benefit from the social aspects but also experience the joy of seeing plants grow, connecting with the natural rhythm of the seasons and appreciating the importance of healthy food. Our experience is supported by the research, which shows that there are social, environmental, physical, mental and lifestyle benefits from participating in community gardens.

The full briefing paper is available for download here:

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