Home Medizin Neues wissenschaftliches Projekt zur Erforschung naturbasierter Therapien zur Verbesserung der psychischen Gesundheit

Neues wissenschaftliches Projekt zur Erforschung naturbasierter Therapien zur Verbesserung der psychischen Gesundheit

von NFI Redaktion

Can mental health benefit from nature-based health therapies? A new scientific project led by the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology at the Autonomous University of Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) will explore how these therapies, which involve regular exposure to natural green spaces, could be integrated into public health and nature promotion measures to improve the mental health of the population and reduce disparities in the treatment of these pathologies.

Over the next four years, the GreenME project will revolutionize the understanding of mental health equality across Europe. To achieve this, 19 partners from countries such as Spain, Italy, the United Kingdom, the United States, Poland, Sweden, Germany, and Belgium will be involved with nearly 6 million euros in funding from the European Union’s research and innovation program, „Horizon Europe.“

Recently, over 60 members of the consortium gathered in Barcelona to kick off the project. Researchers, therapy providers, and community representatives collaborated to address the project’s challenges.

We need to deepen the evidence that therapies based on contact with nature benefit mental health and well-being. One of our basic principles is to inform various stakeholders about how nature contact benefits people’s health (Green Care) and involve them in designing sustainable health solutions.“

Dr. Helen Cole, researcher at ICTA-UAB and one of the scientific coordinators of the GreenME project

„This project will deeply analyze the close relationship between different levels of green care and equality in mental health and enable this knowledge to be translated into real and effective policies,“ said Dr. Margarita Triguero-Mas, researcher at UOC and ISGlobal, scientific coordinator of the project alongside Dr. Cole.

The researchers will examine the close interaction between mental health, green care, and environmental justice (including socioecological inequalities), analyzing the effectiveness of nature-based health interventions. Nature-based therapies range from horticulture to forest bathing (Japanese Shinrin-Yoku) and any activities that take place in nature and are specifically designed as therapy to promote healing or improve personal well-being. The project will also review guidelines currently promoting equality in mental health and ecological sustainability.

In addition to nature-based therapies, the researchers identify two other types of green care, such as contact with nature in daily life (e.g., the presence of green and blue infrastructures for contemplation and walks) or nature-based health promotion (active interaction with greenery, such as gardening and conservation).

„We aim for this project to play a fundamental role in shaping healthy, equitable, climate-resilient, and sustainable communities,“ adds Dr. Helen Cole. Therefore, the GreenME project aims to update our understanding of how nature contact benefits our health, ensure equal access to nature-based therapies, and advocate for a healthier planet for all.

Under the leadership of ICTA-UAB, the GreenME consortium, „Advancing Greencare in Europe: An Integrated Multi-Scalar Approach for the Expansion of Nature-Based Therapies to Improve Mental Health Equity,“ includes the University of Bologna (Bologna, Italy), Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (Sveriges Lantbruksuniversitet – Uppsala, Sweden), ILS Research (Institute for Regional and Urban Development Research – Dortmund, Germany), Warsaw University of Life Sciences (SGGW – Warsaw, Poland), Open University of Barcelona (UOC – Barcelona, Spain), Alter Kontinent (Brussels, Belgium), NeuroLandscape Foundation (Warsaw, Poland), Society for Horticulture and Therapy (GGuT – Hückeswagen, Germany), Institute of Psychiatry and Neurology (IPIN – Warsaw, Poland), Scandinavian Nature and Forest Therapy Institute & SHINRIN-YOKU (Stockholm, Sweden), Eta Beta Cooperativa Sociale (Bologna, Italy), City of Herne (Herne, Germany), Spanish Association for Horticulture and Social and Therapeutic Gardening (AEHJST – Madrid, Spain), University of Kent (Kent, UK), University of Salford (Salford, UK), Social Farms and Gardens (Bristol, UK), Mind in Bexley and East Kent LTD (London, UK), and Oregon Health & Science University Portland State University School of Public Health (OHSU-PSU) – Oregon, USA.


Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB)

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