New calendar promotes the benefits of nature prescriptions

A new initiative is helping people in Angus to recognise the physical and mental health benefits of nature and offer ideas to encourage more contact with the outdoors.
Pictured (​l-r): Iain Brough, Nicola Barbour (ANGUSalive); Dr Nico Grunenberg; Sally Wilson and Colin McMillan.Pictured (​l-r): Iain Brough, Nicola Barbour (ANGUSalive); Dr Nico Grunenberg; Sally Wilson and Colin McMillan.
Pictured (​l-r): Iain Brough, Nicola Barbour (ANGUSalive); Dr Nico Grunenberg; Sally Wilson and Colin McMillan.

The Angus Nature Prescribing Calendar is a joint project between Angus Health and Social Care Partnership (AHSCP), ANGUSalive, Angus Council, NHS Tayside and RSPB Scotland.

The free calendar is based upon a successful trial in Lothian, where it was found that 74% of patients benefitted from them, while 87% said they would continue to use the countryside to support their health and well-being.

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Full of seasonal activities, it has been developed in partnership with organisations across the county to support local people living with various common conditions, such as anxiety and depression, and to encourage an increase in physical activity.

Councillor Julie Bell, chairperson of Angus Health and Social Care Integration Joint Board, said: “Connecting with nature is a great way for people to potentially boost their health and well-being. Angus has a wealth of wonderful outdoor spaces and environments on our doorstep you can explore for free and getting out and about in these can make a real and positive difference to people’s lives. I can’t wait to see how people in Angus and visitors benefit from it.”

Dr Alison Clement, AHSCP associate medical director, said: “Emerging evidence suggests that spending time outdoors positively impacts our health. To have the Nature Prescriptions Calendar is a simple but effective way to support people to get out and about and immerse themselves in nature around Angus.”

The calendar is available on the AHSCP website, on request from GPs or the local social prescribing team at The Cross, Forfar. Copies will also soon be available in local libraries and pharmacies.

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Colin McMillan from Angus Voice, who helped to develop the calendar, said: “As someone with a mental illness this gives me an opportunity to face my problems and is great for alleviating anxiety or stress. It is one of the reasons that I’ve been able to improve my life and work towards challenging my problems and recover.”

Ashleigh Henderson, from NHS Tayside, Senior Health Promotion Officer, added: “Interventions such as the Angus Nature Prescribing Calendar are absolutely vital in supporting people to take care of their health and wellbeing. By providing local people with a resource which can support engagement with local spaces and increase activity levels, we are promoting and facilitating the use of non-medical interventions, which have the potential for long term health, social and environmental improvements.”