Healthy Parks Healthy People South Australia 2021-2026
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The Mental Health Benefits of Contact with Nature focus area recognises that nature can provide wide-ranging benefits for mental health and wellbeing. There are many opportunities for nature to be incorporated into strategies for treating mental illness; engaging with nature is also an important approach for the prevention of mental illness and the promotion of mental health and wellbeing
The first Healthy Parks Healthy People SA Action Plan ‘Realising the mental health benefits of contact with nature (PDF 2MB)’ was launched in October 2016. This Action Plan recognises that investment in upstream mental health promotion strategies can lessen the demand for downstream treatment of mental illness. This plan outlines the role of nature in mental health prevention and promotion and presents a series of short term outcomes aimed to strengthen this approach as part of the HPHP SA framework.
The first key action outlined in this action plan, is developing a discussion paper providing evidence and opportunities to support the governments mental health agenda, including the Suicide Prevention Strategy 2017-2021 and the SA Mental Health Strategic Plan 2017 -2022. This discussion paper Connecting nature and parks to mental health promotion and mental illness prevention strategies in South Australia (PDF 2MB) was finalised in May 2017. A two page summary of this work has also been developed (PDF 484KB).
The discussion paper outlines a number of key recommendations: to incorporate priorities for the prevention of mental illness, and the promotion of mental health and wellbeing in both the 2017 SA State Strategic Mental Health Plan developed by the SA Mental Health Commission, and the Office of the Chief Psychiatrist’s update to the SA Suicide Prevention Plan. A final recommendation, to develop a 5 Ways to Wellbeing in Nature Campaign, modelled on the evidence based 5 Ways to wellbeing originally developed by the New Economics foundation in the UK is also presented. The HPHP SA 5 Ways to Wellbeing in Nature campaign was officially launched in December 2017.
The following links provide more information on the strategies related to the implementation of the Mental Health Benefits of Contact with nature focus area of Healthy Parks Healthy People SA: