Branching Out Resource Guide
Branching Out is an innovative development for clients who use mental health services within Greater Glasgow and Clyde. This resource guide provides background information on the Branching Out project and provides information on project considerations, activity programmes, equipment, staff requirements, referrals and celebrating achievements.
Branching Out is a project offering ecotherapy on referral for people experiencing mental health problems in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde area. The project was piloted by Forestry Commission Scotland (now Scottish Forestry) as part of its efforts to use woodlands to benefit the health and wellbeing of people living in local areas.
Research has shown that natural green spaces boost peoples’ wellbeing and self-esteem by offering a calming and restorative environment. A recent Mind (National Association for Mental Health) report advocated ecotherapy as a clinically valid treatment option for people using mental health services. However, there are few such projects available for mental health services to refer patients directly on to, as well as a lack of understanding and communication between mental health and conservation organisations.
Branching Out sought to develop, pilot and evaluate an ‘ecotherapy on referral’ project providing conservation, bushcraft, environmental art and other greenspace activities in woodlands. It is hoped that the findings will allow the development of similar longer-term projects.