We have recently been involved in a pilot project for the Forest of Avon Trust to improve the wellbeing of those with low to mid-level mental health needs, such as depression and anxiety.
The aim of the woodland sessions was to get people out of the house, into the natural environment to relax, meet new people and try new things. We wanted to see whether this helped people to develop coping strategies for daily life.
The Forest of Avon Trust was working with Lawrence Weston Community Farm and Public Health: Bristol to pilot the project aimed at people living in north Bristol.
Participants were signposted by their GPs and came to the free sessions alone or with a friend/relative or support worker. During sessions we followed the interests of the group which ranged from whittling to cooking on the fire to tree identification.
Participant feedback was positive:
“It has really impacted my life in a good way coming here. I noticed straight away how I look around more, but also I feel more relaxed in nature and outside which really helps with my anxiety.”
“I used to be scared of leaving the house, and only come out at night to walk my dog which was very unhealthy for both of us. Now we always have a good walk… This is so much better and healthier than medication.”