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People and green spaces: promoting public health and mental well‐being through ecotherapy

Ambra Burls (Anglia Ruskin University)

Journal of Public Mental Health

ISSN: 1746-5729

Article publication date: 1 September 2007



Drawing on the author's multi‐method research on the viability of specific ecotherapy practitioner training and curriculum design, this paper debates how the use of ecotherapeutic approaches can provide a two‐pronged system to achieve both individual health (at micro level) and public and environment health outcomes (at macro level). The research sought the views of service users, practitioners and educationalists through use of interviews, focus groups, a nominal group, and an ethnographic case study group. This research raised other considerations: namely, that people seeking personal recovery also, through stewardship of green spaces, may achieve unanticipated social capital and natural capital outcomes and thereby meet current multi‐disciplinary policy targets. This added social value has not been previously considered as an important dimension in people's well‐being and recovery from ill health or social exclusion. Such outcomes emerge from the idea of green spaces becoming a ‘product’ delivered to the community by people whose pursuit of personal recovery also directly contributes to improved public mental health.



Burls, A. (2007), "People and green spaces: promoting public health and mental well‐being through ecotherapy", Journal of Public Mental Health, Vol. 6 No. 3, pp. 24-39.



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Copyright © 2007, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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