As a member of the London Arts and Health community, part of our role as…
For many years to come we will need to remain in recovery mode from the sheer impact of the Covid pandemic on our lives. Everyone found themselves in lockdown with all the restrictions that went with that. At least there was the common benefit of the allowed ‘once a day’ outdoor exercising. It hugely connected more of us to nature than ever before.
Our experience of the last 2 years have been very difficult to manage, and we do not need to calculate who or what was most lost. It remains an undisputable fact that a colossal human loss occurred as a result of the Pandemic.
Overall mental health and wellbeing was significantly impacted as highlighted across research during and after the pandemic including the Mental Health Foundation’s Coronavirus: Mental Health in the Pandemic | Mental Health Foundation especially as it particularly impacted vulnerable groups and widened existing social inequalities. What is therefore crucial more than ever in this time going forward, is our deliberate effort at selfcare, mindfulness and empathy towards ourselves and others.
At the national level, an economic recovery plan has been announced by the government and ticketed down to the Local Government Authorises, but the one question on the lips of many as this article put so succinctly is how to address the mental health crisis, https://www.nhsconfed.org/articles/when-government-going-fix-covid-19-pandemics-mental-health-crisis.
There needs to be a fully funded, robust pandemic national Wellbeing and Mental Health recovery plan. In order to form an integral path of the overall economic recovery plan or there will be the heavier cost of an unhealthy work force for years to come.
With adult mental health services and other statutory agencies with a long waiting list, they are on the verge of busting at the seams, the only sufficient alternative is a guided self-management at least for low to mild mental health ill health, targeting the most vulnerable; sufferers of long Covid, long term conditions, lone parents and the most impacted diversified groups. That is where the Blue Prescribing Project (BPP) plays a vital role. No more rummaging through the walls of our minds all alone and doing further damage of self-doubt, engaging in the 5 ways to wellbeing, connecting and socialising in a safe space with others in blue and green spaces, can leas to improved mental health as recent study into this Blue Prescribing | WWT, has proven.
The second of its rolled-out sites, the Blue Prescriptions London is a wetland Centre, put together by the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust and the Mental Health Foundation.
It includes, 6 sessions facilitated in a peer support setting, on practical life skills, such as you are expert, mental health ups and downs, cycles in nature, goal setting, problem solving and social connections.
Growing key stakeholder of the BPP have described this model, as a service delivery that is coherent, user centered, trauma informed and easy to access. More importantly are the transformative outcomes captured in the diaries of participants and shared with consent as part of the Evaluation. The early stages of which indicates the need for this project, one that continuously co-created with its participants.
In addition to the self-management course, is the curated nature-based activities at the London Wetlands Centre, such as bird watching, watching the otters; Tod and Honey, tree hugging and pond dipping to mention a few.
The pan London project is delivered as a face to face and virtually for 6 weeks. Other referral pathways includes self-referral, social prescribers, link workers, charity and community organisations staff can also refer individuals, non-formed and all preformed groups, to the project.
It is free expect for the time and commitment required of participants, other incentives include free vouchers towards continued access to the London wetland Centre during the course and on completion of the six weeks, a follow up 1 year free membership to access all WWT’s sites across the UK and lastly is the reimbursement of travel expenses to and form the face to face sessions at the London Wetland Centre.
To refer, or to find out more about the blue prescribing project, please kindly email firstname.lastname@example.org