Active in Parks: Mental Health Rehabilitation Program

Agencies supporting mental illness can better address its challenges by using parks as settings for improved health.

It is proven that interaction with nature can assist in creating positive feelings for the mind, body and soul.

The Pathways organisation promoted the mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing of the individual through shared exploration of pathways to healthy living. The organisation specialised in a range of services, outpatient treatments and recovery programs for persons with mental illness and/or brain injury and was a keen supporter of People and Parks Foundation’s vision.

In conjunction with Pathways, People and Parks Foundation developed a program inviting Pathways clients to visit a park for stimulating, yet not intimidating recreational activities, a picnic or BBQ while supported by a park guide and Pathways professional.

For many clients physical exercise is often not included in their day to day activities, and by taking part in a series of park visits the participants also achieved a sense of positive anticipation of the activity and a feeling of camaraderie. People and Parks Foundation was heartened to see participants expressing how much they enjoyed themselves, reconnecting with past memories and activities. For these participants, parks are a special place to find connections for the soul and a sense of peace.

“I remember coming here when I was a teenager and making cubbies under the bamboo with my mates” – Pathways participant

“This place makes me happy” – Pathways participant