A leading mental health charity says that going for a walk could save the NHS millions of pounds a year. According to MIND, British doctors wrote out 31 million prescriptions for anti-depressant drugs in 2006 – and the charity believes that doctors should prescribe more ecotherapy (in other words, regular walks in a green park) as it is a highly effective treatment for mental health patients.
Low Cost Treatment with No Negative Side Effects
In a report called Go Green to Beat the Blues, the leading mental health charity MIND wrote “Unlike drugs, ecotherapy is low-cost, has no negative side effects and is available on most people’s doorsteps.”
The study reported that “71% of those surveyed reported decreased levels of depression after a green walk”
“Castle Craig is delighted to see that there is a growing emphasis on green therapy”saidour Chairman Peter McCann, “at Castle Craig we have the considerable advantage of woodland and plenty of space for green walks. Many of our patients take full advantage of this.”
Exercise Beats Depression
Studies have already been conducted into the therapeutic value of exercise and ecotherapy. For example this report from Harvard Medical School asks the question “How does exercise relieve depression?”
An extract from the report gives some of the answer: “For many years, experts have known that exercise enhances the action of endorphins, chemicals that circulate throughout the body. Endorphins improve natural immunity and reduce the perception of pain. They may also serve to improve mood.“
Ecotherapy at Castle Craig
We are currently studying the effects of ecotherapy and would like to hear from former patients and anyone else who is in recovery. We are keen to find out if you participated in walks, jogging or other outdoor activities, and if this helped your recovery.
If you can help us with this research please comment below or write to us at [email protected] (mark it for the attention of Dominic).