“Our task must be to free ourselves... by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty." 

- Albert Einstein

Well-being: Nature Therapy and Mental Health

Updated: Apr 20, 2020

Shaun Britton explores nature, mental health and how interwoven they are when it comes to well-being.

Photo by Spencer Selover

It is estimated that in 2020, depression will be the second leading cause of world disability, and furthermore, is set to become the biggest global contributor to disease burden by 2030.

In 2013 in the UK, 8.2 million people suffered with anxiety. Also in the UK, it has been reported that 1.2% of the population, or 12 out of every 1000 people, suffer with OCD, although the actual figure may be higher. In 1995, only 0.8% of 4-24-year-olds in England reported having a long-standing mental health condition. By 2014 this number had increased to 4.8%.

It seems that in the modern age, the more we have developed technologically, the more our inner worlds have suffered.

An article in the Greater Good Science Centre publication highlights this problem with a study that tracked the frequency of 186 nature-related words across a vast number of books, films, documentaries and songs from the 1950s onwards.

It found a major decline in the use of such words across these works over that time. The authors conclude that this trend does not marry with urbanisation, as often assumed, but with the growth of technology, notably indoor entertainment such as the advent of TV and video games.