Primary care practitioners frequently see people who are distressed to the extent that it affects their ability to function. These people are at risk of a clinical diagnosis of stress, depression or anxiety. A range of treatments are recommended by national guidelines including: therapies, such as cognitive behaviour therapy; activities, such as exercising; and medication, such as antidepressants.
Sometimes these treatments are not as effective as desired, the delivery methods or intervention activities are inappropriate, and some patients prefer, or avoid, particular treatments, such as medication. Because of this it is important to develop a range of treatment options that are suitable for differing needs and desires.
The project team will work with three key groups of people: relevant NHS staff, people with common mental health conditions and their families, and those who organise nature-based activities. Using this information, we will analyse how, and why, different elements of a programme might help people with depression. We will also explore how it should be organised. Once this project is complete, we will be able to test the acceptability and effectiveness of nature-based, group treatment.
Linked to the Nature-on-Prescription project and funded by the University of Exeter Impact Accelerator Account Fund, we have produced a handbook about how Nature-on-Prescription can be used to support people’s mental health, and makes evidence-based suggestions for how to develop and implement a high-quality scheme, in the new social prescribing landscape. The handbook is primarily aimed at providers of group, nature-based interventions that target common mental health conditions, and that can be delivered via social prescribing schemes. The content will also be of interest to link workers, general practitioners, commissioners and researchers with an interest in social prescribing. More information can be found on the handbook web page here: https://www.ecehh.org/research/nature-prescription-handbook/