Dose of Nature is an evidenced-based, clinically-led mental health charity that aims to improve the mental health and wellbeing of individuals through an increased engagement with the natural world. Our work is rooted in a wealth of scientific research that demonstrates the physiological and psychological benefits of spending time in nature. We deliver ‘nature prescriptions’ to people referred by their GP with a wide range of mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, stress, bereavement, trauma, addiction, and more recently long covid. Through a combination of education, first-hand experience, and practical and motivational support, we encourage a greater connection with nature, and inspire lifestyle changes that have a significant and lasting impact on mental wellbeing. Our model is a positive, hopeful and outward-looking approach to mental health.
Our Dose of Nature Prescription Programme includes an 8-week individual nature prescription with a trained Dose of Nature Guide, as well as the opportunity to engage with a range of nature-based group activities for an unlimited amount of time. It is a genuine alternative to both medication and more traditional psychological interventions, and our recovery rates are significantly higher than those for comparable mental health interventions such as CBT (over 75% for a Dose of Nature Prescription, compared with 33-50% for an equivalent NHS treatment). As a result of our nature prescriptions, many clients reduce, and frequently cease, their medication, and report significant lifestyle changes such as returning to work or university, finding a job, doing voluntary work, and undertaking new training. Furthermore, with a focus on developing new habits, independent of the person delivering the 8-week programme, individuals have a life-long resource in nature that is free, accessible, and unlimited.
Since establishing our charity in 2019, we have received over 900 referrals for people ranging in age from 15 to 92 years. Demand for our service, both by GPs and those experiencing mental health difficulties, continues to grow, as people seek alternative, effective ways of treating mental health problems. We began delivering our nature prescriptions in the Borough of Richmond, and in 2021 we expanded our service to the neighbouring Borough of Kingston. We have recently been invited to establish a new Dose of Nature Hub in North Guildford, Surrey, and we now receive referrals from over 150 GPs, across over 60 GP practices.
We are currently involved a year-long research project with the London School of Economics, investigating the effectiveness of our Dose of Nature Prescription Programme. As well as evaluating the impact on individuals’ wellbeing, the research is measuring the effect of increasing people’s connection with the natural world on their pro-environmental behaviour.
Alongside our individual nature prescriptions, we deliver well-being workshops, teaching the general population about the mental health benefits of spending more time outside in natural spaces. Previous groups have included students, young parents, older adults, teachers, psychologists, refugees, cancer patients, victims of domestic abuse, carers, charity leaders, NHS workers, and firefighters.
Have a read of their Spring-Summer newsletter
07309 793 960 (Katie) or 07928 286 935 (Lindsey)
Registered Charity Number