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Feel blue? Touch green! Participation in forest/woodland management as a treatment for depression

Townsend, Mardie 2006, Feel blue? Touch green! Participation in forest/woodland management as a treatment for depression, Urban forestry & urban greening, vol. 5, no. 3, pp. 111-120, doi: 10.1016/j.ufug.2006.02.001.

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Title Feel blue? Touch green! Participation in forest/woodland management as a treatment for depression
Author(s) Townsend, Mardie
Journal name Urban forestry & urban greening
Volume number 5
Issue number 3
Start page 111
End page 120
Publisher Urban & Fischer
Place of publication Jena, Germany
Publication date 2006-10
ISSN 1618-8667
1610-8167
Keyword(s) nature–health links
social capital
civic environmentalism
mental health promotion
volunteers
wellbeing
Summary Recent research by a team from Deakin University explored the health and wellbeing benefits of civic environmentalism – voluntary communal actions undertaken to promote ecosystem sustainability, typified by membership of a ‘friends of parks’ group. The research confirmed what was known intuitively: that belonging to such a group and undertaking the activities associated with such a group exposes people not only to the benefits of the natural environment, but also to other people and to opportunities to make a contribution which is socially valued.

On the basis of those findings, a pilot project involving intentional engagement of people suffering depression and related disorders in supported nature-based activities in a woodland environment is being implemented and evaluated. This article reports on that project and discusses the implications of its findings to date, and the findings of the three earlier projects, both for urban woodland/forest managers and for the health sector.

As this contribution indicates, there appears to be potential for the use of civic environmentalism to promote health, wellbeing and social connectedness for individuals and the wider population, as well as for groups with identified health vulnerabilities. However, the realization of the benefits of such an approach will be dependent on co-operation between the environment and health sectors to create and promote opportunities for increased civic environmentalism, and to identify and address the barriers to their effective use.
Language eng
DOI 10.1016/j.ufug.2006.02.001
Field of Research 111714 Mental Health
Socio Economic Objective 970111 Expanding Knowledge in the Medical and Health Sciences
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2006, Elsevier GmbH
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30003590

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: School of Health and Social Development
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