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Power of nature in service user rehabilitation

30 May 24

HPFT service users are benefitting from the power of nature as part of their rehabilitation.

Sunny garden with trees and grass

RSPB Nature Prescriptions are being used by Occupational Therapists at the Trust to support service users with their recovery and mental and physical wellbeing.

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) launched Nature Prescriptions in England in 2023 and are working alongside health professionals to share the benefits of this free for the recipient, non-medical form of treatment.

Service users are given a calendar of seasonal ideas for how to connect with nature. In January, examples include:

  • Go on a Snowdrop walk. Even on a gloomy day you can find these cheerful little flowers in gardens, woods and road verges.
  • Get outside, whatever the weather. Feel the wind or rain on your face or the crunch of frost underfoot. Watch a few winter sunsets and see how the colours differ.

Suggestions for July include:

  • Can you find any Dandelion clocks? Are the fluffy white seed heads blowing around? Give them a blow and watch them float away.
  • Explore different trees. Notice the variety of shapes, leaves and bark. Listen to the leaves blowing in the wind. Which tree do you feel most drawn to?

The beauty of nature can be seen in all manner of places from parks, gardens, school grounds, pavements, allotments. Even looking out of a window. RSPB Nature Prescriptions can be done anywhere, on your own or with another person.

Jane Forbes-Pepitone, Lead Occupational Therapist, HPFT said:

“Nature is really important for our wellbeing and connecting to nature has been shown to have many positive benefits. These include improvements in mood, reducing feelings of stress, relaxation, improving sleep quality, reducing loneliness and improving confidence and self-esteem.

“The feedback from our service users has been overwhelmingly positive and it is great to explore innovative ways of supporting our service users.”

Sarah Walker, Nature and Wellbeing Manager, RSPB said:

"Nature should be a big part of our lives and an important part of health and social care. Many of us have an instinct that nature does us good, but we don’t always embrace that and don’t always know how best to do that. RSPB Nature Prescriptions are designed to help us improve our wellbeing by bringing nature into our lives in small, simple, everyday ways."

"It’s fantastic to be working with the team at HPFT to improve the wellbeing of people through RSPB Nature Prescriptions."

Find out more about RSPB Nature Prescriptions and other ways you can help nature at the RSPB website: www.rspb.org.uk

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