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 2018-19, the Green Walking Project (GWP) will:

  • 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. 
  • Promote pre-existing evidence and good practice: through conferences, disseminating case studies, and new publications, the GWP will increase 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 will develop a supportive and collaborative network of key stakeholders.
  • Establish Green Beacon Sites: we will work closely with a number of mental health trusts to establish new green space walking groups. These projects will help to identify barriers to best practice, promote the importance of green spaces for mental health and directly inform recommendations in the final guide. 

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 Walking Project Case Studies