Green Walking Project

The Green Walking Project aims to promote and improve access to green spaces for general adult psychiatric inpatients. It is funded by a grant from the Network for Social Change and delivered by CSH in partnership with the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

People with severe mental health conditions face impacts on their physical and mental health but also the effects of discrimination. As inpatients, their care may involve involuntary hospitalisations for extended periods often under circumstances with limited access to the natural world. Walking groups can be an achievable means for wards and hospitals to provide their inpatients with the benefits of spending time in green spaces. 

Within the environment of an inpatient ward, walking groups require a relatively small amount of preparatory infrastructure and cost. Moreover, they incorporate the benefits of physical activity into flexible experiences which can accommodate and reflect a range of choices and care-needs. A walk through a green space can be transformed to include elements of photography and other arts, mindful practice, a closer study of nature and of course the company of others. Their relative simplicity helps to create the much-needed space where patients and staff can focus on collaborative care models. 

Over the course of 2018-20, the Green Walking Project (GWP) will:

  • Establish Green Beacon Sites: we are working closely with a number of mental health trusts to establish new green space walking groups. These projects are helping to identify barriers to best practice, promote the importance of green spaces for mental health and directly inform recommendations in the final guide. 
  • Promote pre-existing evidence and good practice: through conferences, disseminating case studies, and new publications, the GWP is increasing the awareness of the value of walking in green spaces while bringing attention to the excellent work already happening in NHS mental health trusts.  
  • Form a collaborative network: understanding that, at its best, the delivery of mental health care reflects input from patients and a wide range of professionals, the GWP is developing a supportive and collaborative network of key stakeholders.
  • Create and publish the Green Walking Guide: the guide will summarise relevant evidence as well as represent perspectives from patients and a wide range of professionals.  It will be publicly available and is meant as a resource to help professionals start new groups within their wards. 

This project works on many levels. It emphasises the value of exposure to the natural world for supporting well-being and seeks to identify barriers preventing greater access to green spaces. It also builds resources and pilot projects/case studies to empower the health service to overcome pre-existing challenges that prevent the integration of green spaces into standard models of inpatient care.  

We very much appreciate your interest in the GWP and welcome any effort in promoting this work within your work and community. Should you have any interest in becoming involved or would like to know more please get in touch

Green Beacon Sites 2019

We are delighted to be working with exceptional teams to establish new walking groups at the following eight mental health Trusts:

Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust
Bradford and District Care NHS Foundation Trust
Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust
Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust
South London and Maudsley Foundation Trust
Tee, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust

Green Walking Project Case Studies