Green Space and Health

Green space contributes to physical and mental wellbeing and offers therapeutic benefits for recovery from illness. This foundation course explores the evidence and illustrates how you can integrate these into your own practice. The course is intended for health and social care professionals in primary, secondary or social care, including those working in mental health and rehabilitation and those who want to improve staff wellbeing in any setting.  

  • Workshop: 21 July (Thurs) 9.30-13.30 BST
    • Self-study period opens: 30 June

If you have booked on a course click here for access.

Pricing structure: £95 - £165 + VAT

book here

Course description

Our foundation courses are intended as an overview of the field for health and social care staff at any level who are new to the concept of nature-based interventions and/or sustainable healthcare.

Research from around the world demonstrates the benefits of green space for mental and physical health, recovery from illness and prevention of long term medical conditions. Access to green space is increasingly recognised as a social determinant of health and a factor in health inequalities. ‘Green' prescriptions are increasingly being used by healthcare professionals to deliver health benefits for patients.  This course explores the evidence base and its implications for healthcare and the design of clinical settings. It showcases examples of green prevention and therapy and illustrates how you can integrate these into your own practice. 

Human health is inextricably linked to the health of the wider living systems that support us. They provide the air we breathe, the food we grow, the water we drink, moderate the proliferation of diseases that affect us and much more. This complex set of relationships is sometimes referred to as ‘planetary health’ and is increasingly recognised as a critical perspective in health creation. 

Our societies have viewed the destruction of living systems as necessary collateral damage for human prosperity. Only by recognising our own reliance on these biological foundations, can we begin to build a sounder, regenerative way of life. It is against the backdrop of steadily climbing greenhouse gas emissions and global temperatures and the dramatic loss in biodiversity that now threatens our own ability as a species to thrive or even survive, that this course focuses on the relationship between nature and health.

Though long overlooked, it is also increasingly understood that the defence of natural habitats is fundamental to combating climate change. Living systems such as forests, meadows, mangroves, and salt marshes remove and store large amounts of carbon from the air - they offer 'natural climate solutions' for the planetary ills we face.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this course you will be able to:

  1. Recognise the complex relationship between human health and the health of the natural world
  2. Summarise the evidence on the health benefits of engaging with green space
  3. Describe how nature-based interventions can be applied to patient care and staff wellbeing in a sustainable health system
  4. Outline how clinical settings can be designed to promote health and healing
  5. Identify your own local ‘green space for health’ initiative

Course Structure

Part I.  Self-study online

Prepare for the workshop at your convenience using our interactive online self-study module, presented in bite-sized chunks. You will need about 4-6 hours to complete the self-study materials which cover all course content including background, theory and case studies, with links to further information depending on your level of interest.   Discussion points throughout the module allow you to reflect on your learning and start to get to know fellow participants and their areas of interest and work.  At the end of the module, you are invited to sketch out a plan for a Green Space project you might want to undertake, in preparation for the workshop discussions.  The self-study module opens 3 weeks before, and remains available to you for 4 weeks after, the workshop.

“Enjoyed working through it. Good balance of reading/videos to watch and discuss. Very well organised and structured. Lots of great links.”

Part II.  Live workshop online

The 4 hour virtual workshop consolidates your understanding of the course materials. Small group discussions with CSH experts and colleagues from around the world allow further exploration of topics that interest you and tips on how to translate your ideas into action.  The timetable includes pre-session technical assistance and networking, followed by a review of the self-study material with Q&A.  In breakout groups you will then have the opportunity to explore with others

  • The implications of the green space evidence base for healthcare 
  • How to develop new forms of practice, facilitate others to engage with green space locally, or create a new green space where you work
  • How to overcome barriers and find opportunities to take your ideas forward – e.g. using levers for change, values and narratives. 

By the end of the workshop you will feel confident to launch your own ‘green space for health’ initiative

“Finding out about CSH in the last 3 months has transformed my ability to convey the messages of sustainable healthcare”

“To know you'll have a hub with centralised resources and support will make a huge difference”

Part III: Work-in-Progress

After completing the self-study materials and online workshop you are invited to attend our online Sustainable Healthcare Cafés. The 2 hour cafes occur regularly throughout the year and offer ongoing support for you to put your learning in to practice. They are a friendly, informal setting in which to:

  • Get support for sustainability projects from peers and CSH staff
  • Make connections with others bringing sustainability projects into their workplace

You are welcome to continue attending Cafes as many times as you wish. Upcoming dates are available here and will also be emailed out to you with your certificate of completion after the workshop.

Pricing Structure

Book here

Book a course with peace of mind: We realise that healthcare workers may have to change their plans at short notice. If you are unable to attend a workshop, we can offer you a workshop at a later date for no charge. We can also offer a refund as long as you cancel before the course opens for self-study, which is 3 weeks before the workshop. There will be an admin fee of £30 for refunds.



Carey Newson - Green Space Programme Lead at the Centre for Sustainable Healthcare 

Carey has worked as a consultant in social and environmental policy, including for Oxford's Environmental Change Institute, the Department for Transport and a local Trust. She has an MSc in Environmental Psychology and a doctorate in Cultural Geography. At the Campaign for Better Transport she led many programmes to support walking, cycling and public transport through best practice. She began her career in journalism and broadcasting. 

Dr James Szymankiewicz - GP

James is a GP in North Devon who has worked in healthcare commissioning for several years.  He brings extensive experience in partnership working with roles including current Chair of Devon Nature Partnership and Chair of the North Devon GP Collaborative Board.  His focus is on delivering effective change through a collaborative, cross sector approach.

Dr Alan Kellas - Psychiatrist

Alan has recently retired from twenty years in NHS psychiatry. Over the last few years he has become interested the theory and practice of eco-psychologies and eco-therapies - how nature in its many forms can be a resource for mental health. He has explored these as part of strategies for mood regulation and managing challenging behaviour amongst other indications. Alan is currently the Green Care lead on the Royal College of Psychiatry Sustainability Committee.

Miriam Dobson

Miriam joined CSH in March 2021 as the Green Space for Health Outreach officer, with a focus on building the reach and influence of the Green Space for Health programme and co-ordinating the NHS Forest. Previously, she worked at the University of Sheffield researching public health and urban food production, following the completion of her PhD on the environmental and social benefits of allotment gardening.

Athene Reiss

Athene's background in environmental engagement includes seven years as an environmental educator and interpreter for the Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust. This included people engagement on rural and urban natural sites. She is an experienced and enthusiastic Forest School leader and has taught teachers and others about using the natural world for pedagogical and wellbeing aims. Working with CSH’s Nature Recovery Rangers, Athene facilitates biodiversity improvements and the use of green spaces to enhance personal wellbeing at NHS sites.


About CSH

The Centre for Sustainable Healthcare is a registered charity working since 2008 to help the NHS reduce its carbon footprint. Its is the world's foremost institution for sustainable healthcare research and practice. The team draws on knowledge and experience from public health, clinical practice, environmental consultancy, research and public policy to develop methodologies and metrics to transform models of care. CSH collaborates with partners inside and outside healthcare to engage professionals, patients and the wider community in understanding the connections between health and environment, and to reduce healthcare’s resource footprint. For more information about its work see, click here.