The role of nature in promoting people’s health and wellbeing is increasingly in the headlines. Detachment from nature is often proposed as a contributory factor to the growing prevalence of mental health problems. In contrast, experience in and contact with nature can help to maintain good health, and enhance recovery from illness.
National and local authorities actively promote the use of green and blue spaces for their physical and mental health and wellbeing benefits. There is increasing interest and use of nature as part of social prescribing. Conservation organisations emphasise the importance of being connected to nature, and are keen to promote the role of nature in supporting mental health and wellbeing. Nature also has a long history as an inspiration for art and music, both in terms of composition and through the use of natural media. But there are many questions, such as:
- What is, and what isn’t, nature?
- What are the different ways in which people experience and benefit from nature?
- How can we best communicate the various benefits nature can bring?
- Does nature always ‘work’ to improve health and wellbeing for everyone?
- What are the barriers that prevent some people gaining benefits from nature?
- How can we overcome these barriers to make nature and its potential benefits more inclusive?
- How can we learn from different disciplines to improve knowledge and understanding in this area?
In this workshop, a series of speakers from across the sciences, social sciences and humanities will give short perspectives on how they and their academic discipline think about people, nature and health, how their own research has engaged with people, nature and health, and their ideas for developing future research in this area.
The talks will be followed by small group discussions to provide a chance to discuss topics in more detail and build new interdisciplinary collaborations.