This policy briefing builds on the evidence in our research report to propose some priority policy areas for England. We introduce the current context for the relationship between nature and mental health and an overview of the key issues. Then, we set out our detailed policy recommendations.
Introduction & Overview
As human beings, we are all profoundly influenced by the environment we grow up in and live in. Our social, economic, and cultural circumstances affect our emotional development and well-being, and so make our connection with nature.
Nature’s well-being is intrinsic to our own experience of health and wellbeing.
The natural environment has the potential to be enormously beneficial to our health and wellbeing, yet almost everywhere we look, the role and visibility of nature is diminishing. The night sky is obscured by light pollution, agricultural monocultures have replaced many biodiverse wild areas, and, in our daily lives, technology and screen use is rising while mindful time spent in nature is declining.
As well as the obvious ecological implications of these trends, the deterioration of our natural world and our connection with it has damaging consequences for our mental well-being. Our research report for this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week shows the evidence demonstrating the link between nature and mental health and that better engagement with nature can benefit our mental health.
The report also includes the results of a YouGov poll we commissioned to explore people’s relationship with nature and how it relates to their mental health.