A recent YouGov survey commission by NHS Property Services (NHSPS) has revealed that over one third of British patients want access to mental health services within their healthcare facility and three in ten respondents want more green space.
The YouGov survey revealed that over one third of British patients want access to mental health services within their healthcare facility, along with three in ten respondents (30%) wanting access to more green spaces.
Over one third (38%) of British patients revealed they would also want access to mental health or counselling services in their GP practice or healthcare clinic.
This aligns with the NHS Long Term Plan which aims to grow and invest in adult mental health services within the community. As the NHS continues to see a rise in the number of people seeking help from mental health services in the wake of the pandemic, this was even more of a priority for those aged 18 to 34, with almost half (48%) citing these as key additions to their local healthcare facility.
Social prescribing is already being carried out in a number of locations, which sees activities such as art classes, walking, cycling, green gyms, and tree planting offered as part of a scheme aiming to improve the mental health and wellbeing of communities impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Learning Disability Resource Centre at Offerton, Greater Manchester, is providing service users with learning disabilities, as well as patients with dementia, with support and space to engage in a range of activities to help improve skills and wellbeing, as well as to facilitate socialising and a sense of community.
NHSPS recently completed works on the site that improved facilities for the service users and staff at the centre, including creating a community garden area with raised planting beds, large greenhouse and storage, activity area including trampolines, nature trail learning zone, patio with awnings and planting.
The NHSPS facilities management team worked with the staff at the centre to design an outdoor area that would provide stimulation and learning opportunities as well as exercise and fun.
Debra Smith, Service Manager for Stockport Council Learning Disabilities, said: “This garden gives people with learning disabilities and autism the opportunity to engage with and be part of their communities. It has helped support many people in our community already, especially during the pandemic, and we are looking at connecting with other services too.
“Although still restricted by COVID, we are making small steps to open the gardens and facilities. Three people have recently joined us utilising the horticulture area, along with a person who has autism who has not been able to work during the lockdown is leading on a health activity with other adults who have learning disabilities.
“We look forward to opening the facilities up more broadly for the benefit of even more people, as we know community gardening and being surrounded by nature can help to reduce stress and improve overall wellbeing.”
As part of the government’s NHS Long Term Plan, the NHS hopes more than 900,000 patients will be referred to social prescribing initiatives like these by 2023/24.