The Park is Good for our Health

by David Feather

Did you know that this week is Mental Health Awareness Week? I didn’t until recently. You might well ask how it connects with the Park?

It is clear from the state that the footpaths got into, that a lot more people used the Park during lockdown to relax and enjoy an environment “a million miles away” from their house or flat. Research is showing that we desperately need more such green spaces for our mental and physical health. I think we all instinctively know this.

A stroll though this un-manicured landscape, with the possibility of seeing a variety of wildlife helps us keep on an even keel. Some doctors in Scotland are actually trialling a prescription of walking as an alternative to pills, to counter depression. I look forward to hearing how they got on.

The Mental Health Foundation, in promoting “Mental Awareness Week” states on its website:

Through our own research at the Mental Health Foundation, we know that spending time outdoors has been one of the key factors enabling people to cope with the stress of the Covid-19 pandemic. Throughout the pandemic, nearly half (45%) of people in the UK told us that visiting green spaces, such as parks, helped them to cope. Our findings are echoed by other research which has found that people visiting and noticing nature in particular was important in supporting their wellbeing. This is a really important point, as it helps us to understand that a connection with nature helps unlock the mental health benefits – and it also gives us essential clues on how to maximise these benefits for our wellbeing.”

So, be comforted, as we gradually move into the post-Covid era, that in reading this webpage and walking in the Park, you are doing one of the best things you could do for your health.

If you wish to know more about Mental Health Week, or might really like some help then just google “Mental Health Awareness Week”.

5 thoughts on “

  1. All the research shows that we need more green spaces for our mental wellbeing and our physical health. We need to tell the people who are making the decisions about planning in Trowbridge that we do not want crowded housing estates with no open green spaces, no trees and no connection to what is left of the wider countryside.

    1. Yes! Let’s rewild Trowbridge. It’s not only greenspaces that are good for us; feeling that we have some control over the direction we are all going in is good for us too.

  2. The new estate where the councils social services used to be is horrible. The houses are all crammed together. They have left the big trees that were already there but they haven’t left room to plant any more. Did they think we wont notice.

  3. The Covid restrictions have highlighted the often overlooked vital part that parks play in our lives. It is difficult to imagine any other free resource that caters for so many needs. This free resource should be nurtured by the authorities; and for those people that are new to the park and perhaps have less of an understanding of the impact of their actions with the increased footfall gentle education to change their behaviour for the better.

  4. Every reasonable person considers that space is important to our physical and social health. In the Sunday Times Home supplement last Sunday, Rachel de Thame was advocating encouraging gardening and there was even a suggestion that gardening should be on the school curriculum. Goodness knows what teachers may feel about that.
    However, if you look at the new development plans all around Trowbridge you will see that houses are being given postage-stamp gardens now. The Government policy is to cram as many homes into an acre (or hectare, if you are young) as possible. In the space behind the house (it will be laughable to call it a garden) there will be just room for a patio and garden office.
    Southwick Country Park will become even more precious in the future, not just for people, but also for wildlife. We, helping to manage it, must remain very conscious of this fact.

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