Ecotherapy works

Ecotherapy improves mental and physical wellbeing by supporting people to be active outdoors doing gardening, food growing or environmental conservation work and other activities in nature. 

Mind wants everyone to have access to ecotherapy services where they live. In October 2013 we launched our Ecotherapy Works campaign at The King's Fund where we asked the people who plan, commission and deliver health and social care services to look at the evidence for ecotherapy and consider how it can be provided locally to improve our health and wellbeing.

In September 2014 our lottery-supported Ecominds scheme came to and end. We've captured some of the learning and good practice from the scheme in a series of briefings. These are essential reading for anybody planning or developing an ecotherapy service. 

The evidence

Ecotherapy is a cost-effective way to improve both physical and mental wellbeing, which is accessible and inclusive. Over the last five years our Ecominds scheme has shown that ecotherapy has a real impact on people's mental wellbeing, provides access to education and training, increases social connectivity and the enjoyment of community green spaces.

Read the evidence about the benefits of ecotherapy.

  • Helps us look after our physcial and mental health
  • Supports people at risk of developing mental health problems
  • Helps people recover from a mental health problem
Download the report

What is ecotherapy?

This short film explains how using nature and the outdoors can improve mental wellbeing, particularly for people at risk of developing a mental health problem - or those who need support to manage an existing problem.

The film features four Ecominds-funded projects: Growing Well (Cumbria), PoLLeN (London), Idle Valley Ecominds (Nottinghamshire) Grounded Ecotherapy (London). 

Latest ecotherapy news

September 2014: Ecominds autumn update
Read the final update from the Ecominds team.

September 2014: Ecotherapy good practice
This set of eleven briefings are essential reading if you're setting up an ecotherapy service.

June 2014: Ecominds summer update
This is the penultimate roundup of ecotherapy news from the Ecominds team.

March 2014: Ecominds spring update
Check out the latest news and updates from the Ecominds team. 

November 2013: Ecominds autumn update
Autumn news and updates from Ecominds.

October 2013: Ecotherapy works campaign
In October, Mind launched Ecotherapy Works, a national campaign targeting health and wellbeing boards (HWBs) with evidence of the effectiveness of ecotherapy as an intervention that can help HWB members meet outcomes across health, social care and public health. 

October 2013: Feel better outside, feel better inside conference
The Ecotherapy Works campaign and a report with evidence of the effectiveness of ecotherapy was launched at a major conference at The Kings Fund on 23 October. A review of the event together with presentations and audio recordings [external link] of individual sessions are available online.

August 2013: Ecominds summer newsletter
Latest news and updates from Ecominds (note: since the redesign of the Mind website in October some links in this newsletter will no longer work).

The evidence

Read the latest evidence about the benefits of ecotherapy.

Download our reports


Three women sitting at table in greenhouse sorting vegetables

Our Ecominds scheme funded 130 ecotherapy projects across England.

Read more about the scheme

About ecotherapy

Find out about ecotherapy and how it can improve mental health and wellbeing.

Read our information pages

The benefits of ecotherapy

Ecotherapy is an intervention that improves mental and physical wellbeing by supporting people to be active outdoors doing gardening, farming, food growing, exercise, art and craft, or environmental conservation work.

Between 2009 and 2013 Mind funded 130 ecotherapy projects with £7.5m support from the Big Lottery Fund as part of our Ecominds funding scheme.

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