Sustainable Mental Health
In March 2010, a one-day summit, “Mental health services 2020 - High quality, low carbon”, was organised by CSH jointly with the Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCPsych). The partnership has continued and, in 2013, the RCPsych became the first medical royal college to fund its own Sustainable Specialties fellow, hosted and managed jointly with CSH.
As RCPsych Research Fellow in Sustainability 2013-15, trainee psychiatrist, Dr Daniel Maughan, worked full-time with CSH over two years to improve the sustainability of mental health services. The fellowship established a national discourse and gained commitment from leading organisations in mental health to promote sustainability. Highlights of the programme included founding of the Psych Susnet online network, with over 200 members, and a number of high-impact reports and publications.
To continue the work, the RCPsych and CSH partnered on a follow-on Sustainability Scholarship programme for advanced trainees in Psychiatry working one day per week on sustainability in commissioning or service improvement in 2015-17. The RCPsych also established an internal Sustainability Committee which has an active work programme covering all areas of College activities.
Green Walking in Mental Health Recovery
The Green Walking initiative was launched in 2018 with the purpose of providing respite and healing to individuals undergoing inpatient psychiatric care through group walks in nature. It was funded by the Network for Social Change grant and delivered by the Centre for Sustainable Healthcare in collaboration with the Royal College of Psychiatrists and with the Royal College of Occupational Therapists' endorsement.
The project draws on a substantial amount of existing evidence demonstrating the health advantages of greenspace and walking, and recognises that many healthcare professionals are already vocal advocates for this type of activity and have done so for decades.
The simple act of green walking has several advantages for physical, social, and mental health. It has been shown to boost patients' progress during their recovery and rehabilitation, and benefit the staff. These walks are simple to set up, safe, and inexpensive.
Sustainable Mental Healthcare Course
This short three-part foundation course, developed in collaboration with the Royal College of Psychiatry Planetary Health and Sustainability Committee, brings together individuals from across mental health and social care to develop social, environmental, and financial sustainability in mental health services.
How can mental healthcare within the NHS be made more sustainable?