Ecotherapy

Reading Tony Juniper’s new book What Nature Does for Britain has inspired me to investigate a topic I’ve been interested in for a while now: ecology and mental health. Discussing the things nature does for us that we often take for granted, Juniper devotes a chapter to the link between nature and mental health. He refers specifically to Ecominds, a recent UK-wide project funded by the mental health charity Mind:

http://www.mind.org.uk/ecominds

The interesting thing about this is that a lot of small social enterprises grew from the project and are still operating successfully, from community farms to adult education centres to “green gyms”. There’s a list of the funded organisations here:

http://www.mind.org.uk/media/447386/ecominds-directory-of-projects.pdf?ctaId=/about-us/policies-issues/ecotherapy/ecominds/slices/feature-list/

It’s harder to find these kinds of organisations in Ireland (there are surely entrepreneurial opportunities here…) but one great example is Slí Eile in Co. Cork (link below). While Slí Eile gets 85% of its funding from the government, the success of some of the UK-based enterprises proves that these ecotherapy organisations can be fully/partially self-sustaining. I’ve also provided a link to an interesting article about Slí Eile. Please, someone set one up in every county!

http://www.slieile.ie/

http://www.irishexaminer.com/lifestyle/features/getting-back-to-good-mental-health-on-a-community-farm-311604.html

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