NATURE WELLBEING AND GREEN PRESCRIBING (Caerphilly)
Connecting with nature and being active outdoors has been demonstrated to improve health and wellbeing.
We have seen during the COVID pandemic how more people have valued and used their outdoor spaces to relax and to exercise. It highlighted the importance of being outdoors to people’s mental and physical health, as well as the inequality of access to green space.
The benefits and positive outcomes include weight management, preventing chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension, and improving mental health by reducing stress and anxiety. Communal activities can also promote and create social connections with others which again supports and enhances our wellbeing.
All of these benefits can be enjoyed simply people becoming more active in the outdoors. Sometimes, all is needed is for people to be sufficiently interested and motivated to get out there, but also to be told about the activities and places they can go to. Signposting people to these activities, such as local walking for health schemes, community gardening and food-growing projects, is sometimes called 'green social prescribing'.
However, there is also a great opportunity for GPs and primary care services to directly refer people to these working with providers of activities to support patients, in a fashion similar to the existing Exercise Referral Scheme
In conjunction with a network of great activity providers, we are currently working with local surgeries and practices to develop a model for this Green Prescribing type of referral.
This will take place over the summer 2021 and we will evaluate how it works for the surgeries, the providers and, most importantly of course, the people who are referred.