The award comes in recognition of the project’s invaluable work to date, supporting local residents with experience of mental health problems, by using creative green activity as a form of therapy. The money, the project’s second Ecominds grant, will fund Out There to continue this work and set the project up for long term success and sustainability.
Research shows outdoor exercise can be as effective as antidepressants in treating mild to moderate anxiety and depression – and is available locally without the waiting times, costs or negative side effects associated with many other treatment options.
GPs are starting to recognise the role outdoor projects like Out There can play in the treatment of people with mental health problems, and so the need for these services is increasing. The Ecominds grant will help the Out There project respond to this demand, against the difficult backdrop of budget cuts, changes to service commissioning and increased public demand for mental health support.
We are thrilled to be able to continue supporting those who attend our Out There Projects. For our participants the project is a chance to meet new people, learn new skills and vitally build self esteem and escape the pressures or isolation many people feel every day. We have welcomed number people through our doors in the last two years and, thanks to this second Ecominds grant from Mind, will be able to help many more people experiencing mental health problems in the months ahead.”
Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind said: “This additional burst of BIG funding presents Ecominds projects with an incredible opportunity to provide long-term support at a local level, for those who need it most. Outdoor therapy has become a life line for many, offering an alternative form of treatment that can be maintained for life. It is fantastic that projects can now rise to the very real challenge of uncertainty and change in service provision nationally. We are excited to continue our work with projects over the coming year as they develop to fulfill the grant objectives and support those in their communities.”
Out There is one of 87 outdoor exercise projects in England to receive secondary Ecominds awards from Mind, thanks to a further £2 million from the Big Lottery Fund. Evaluation of the Ecominds scheme, since it started in 2010, shows the clear social and economic impact of the programme – with participants reporting improved physical and mental well-being, thousands moving onto further volunteering, training or paid work; and across the country, communities experiencing improved access to green spaces.