This five-year project is addressing the government’s need for greater understanding of how investing in the environment can benefit our health, and work specifically to promote good mental health among young people in the South West.
It involves academics from the University of Exeter and Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML), and is funded by the South West Partnership for Environment and Economic Prosperity (SWEEP).
A rapidly growing and diverse range of policy and practice is based on the beneficial impacts of natural environments for human health and wellbeing. We will be collaborating with partners from across the region, including Plymouth and Cornwall Councils, Public Health Dorset, the Environment Agency, Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust and the North Devon Biosphere.
There are three main strands to the research:
Actor and action mapping
This part of the project will involve working with our partners to map stakeholders and projects involved in environmental interventions or management for health outcomes across the South West. We will support and connect this stakeholder network, working with them to co-produce a summary of current practice as well as practical guidance documents.
Working with young people to design environmental interventions for mental health
Whist young people have been identified as a group particularly at risk of mental health problems, there are few environmental interventions for health designed specifically for them. Using existing links with schools and colleges across the South West, we will conduct focus groups with young people, co-producing a briefing document regarding environmental interventions and activities which could benefit young people’s mental health.
Developing a business case which can be adapted for use within a range of sectors
PML will lead this strand of the project, undertaking a comprehensive review of existing evidence and drawing on this to build a business case suitable to underpin future environmental investment for health outcomes. The aim is to produce a flexible business case, allowing adaptation to different sectors involved in this area.
Overall, the project aims to improve cross-sectoral understanding of how environmental investment contributes to health and lead to greater inter-sectoral coordination in planning, designing and managing environments for health outcomes.
Find out more and receive updates on the project on the SWEEP website.