Salford part of Europe wide project to improve mental health through greenspace

Categories: Research, School of Science, Engineering and Environment

Aiming to address one of the key issues of our time The University of Salford has been awarded part of a €6 million Horizon Europe project that is looking to improve adult mental health and wellbeing across the continent and the US through innovative green solutions.

The GreenME project will study how exposure to nature can be integrated into healthcare systems to treat and improve mental health for all through ‘Green Social Prescribing’, the practice of supporting people to engage in nature-based interventions and activities to improve their mental and physical health.

Salford is part of a consortium of over 60 institutions from eight countries, who will work together to improve and research green social prescribing in the project. The official launch event for the initiative was held in Barcelona, with Professor Mike Hardman, Professor Penny Cook and Dr Sarah Knight attending.

Professor Hardman said: “The University has worked on implementing green social prescribing into its campus and surrounding communities following extensive research prior to joining the GreenME initiative, but now the project has launched, we can take our expertise and combine it with knowledge from across our international partners with the shared goal of improving the mental health and wellbeing of adults today. Mental health is a huge issue and has got worse since Covid so this project is much needed and will hopefully bring real benefits to people’s health and wellbeing”.

The launch event saw researchers, universities, and municipalities representatives working together to address the challenges of the project via an insightful collective hands-on exercise, listing burning questions and providing answers to identify ways forward. In between sessions, the participants recharged their minds and bodies with walks in nearby parks, mindfulness exercises, and a mandala making outdoor activity, concretely experiencing how nature benefits mental health.

As GreenME embarks on this transformative journey, the consortium is poised to drive forward cutting-edge research, innovation, and collaboration to advance the understanding and integration of nature-based interventions in mental healthcare. The focus is not just on Europe but also North America, with Oregon’s Portland State University adding from a US perspective.

The project will last 4 years and is funded by the Horizon Europe research and innovation programme of the European Union. For more information about GreenME and its initiatives, please visit https://greenme-project.eu

The University of Salford has an ongoing history working on studies investigating the benefits of quality time spent in the environment on people’s wellbeing. This was a focal point of our recent REF submission, with elements in the ‘Mainstreaming Urban Agriculture’ case study submitted to UoA07 (https://results2021.ref.ac.uk/impact/55ee7bf9-9b6d-4491-a4db-0ec90012d1c8?page=1). Dr Andrew Jenkins, Dr Sarah Knight and Prof Mike Hardman are also leading on the cross-school Green, Grow & Thrive Catalyst, which brings together the previous ICZ units of the Care & Urban Farm Hub and Social Prescribing Hub.

For all press office enquiries please email communications@salford.ac.uk.