About Green Health
What is Green Health?
Green Health brings together the wellbeing of people and the environment.
It is not a new concept, fresh air and contact with nature have long been appreciated in healthcare settings. Many of us have benefited from stepping outside of a busy hospital to take a deep breath and walk in the grounds. Hospital courtyards and gardens create therapeutic spaces for patients and breathing spaces for staff. In our communities, local parks, gardens and nature reserves connect people with wildlife and create places to work and play together.
The mission of NHS Lothian Charity is to support NHS Lothian to improve the health and wellbeing of the people of Edinburgh and the Lothians. The Charity’s Green Health programme aims to do this by making the most of the natural environment and our connection to it.
How can nature help health?
Contact with nature and good quality greenspace improves health.
There is an ever increasing body of evidence showing the positive impact that contact with nature can have on physical and mental health. The World Health Organization report Urban Greenspaces and Health summarises evidence on the beneficial effects of urban greenspaces, including:
- improved mental health
- reduced cardiovascular morbidity and mortality
- reduced obesity and risk of type 2 diabetes
- improved pregnancy outcomes.
For some health conditions, particularly mental health, research shows that greenspaces can help reduce negative health impacts of socio-economic inequality. This means that the benefits of greenspace are greater for those worst off in society.
We are working across the whole healthcare system to embed this approach into everyday activities. Working with greenspace scotland, NHS Lothian Charity published the Greenspace and Health: Strategic Framework for Edinburgh & Lothians. The framework sets a policy context and evidence review for this work and brings together the wide range of activities and partners under a shared vision to make the most of the NHS estate as a community health and climate change asset.
Find out more about what we are doing across NHS Lothian
How can we help nature?
To tackle the climate and ecological crisis we need to make the most of our assets
We need to ensure any development leaves biodiversity in a better state than it was before and make sure more of us understand and value the role that nature plays in our lives. The NHS outdoor estate is a valuable asset and we need to make the most of it.
The plants that are grown on the NHS estate (especially trees, hedges and scrub) capture carbon from the atmosphere, offsetting human emissions, and cleaning the air of pollution from nearby roads and car parks.
The green landscape also provides habitats for diverse species, as well as providing nature-based health interventions such as gardening and walking activities, helping to improve the lives of NHS patients and staff.
Find out more from our Biodiversity Audit and Climate change assessment.
- Document: Greenspace and Health Strategic Framework for Edinburgh and the Lothians (3.3 MB)
- Policy review: Greenspace and Health Annex 1 (640 KB)
- Evidence review: Greenspace and Health Annex 2 (414 KB)
- Logic model – Greenspace and Health: Greenspace and Health Annex 3 (84 KB)
- Logic model – Interventions in Greenspace: Greenspace and Health Annex 4 (101 KB)
- GIS map of 2019 activity: Greenspace and Health Annex 5 (1 MB)
- Key site summaries (2019): Greenspace and Health Annex 6 (1.3 MB)
- Case studies (2019): Greenspace and Health Annex 7 (564 KB)
- Priorities for action (2019): Greenspace and Health Annex 8 (134 KB)
- Illustrated Summary: Biodiversity Climate Change Assessment Summary (2.5 MB)
- Full Report: NHS Lothian Biodiversity and Climate Change Assessment (7.9 MB)
Green Social Prescribing Report
- Summary: Green Health Prescribing Briefing (141 KB)
- Full report: Green Health Prescribing Report (2 MB)
- Supplementary information: Lothian-GHP-Consultation-Summary-Lived-Experience (748 KB)
Midlothian Green Social Prescribing Project
Evaluation: Full report (2.2MB)
- Evaluation Report written by Matter in Focus.
Project Partners: Midlothian Health and Social Care Partnership, Health in Mind, Ageing Well, Cyrenians, MAEDT
Connect to our network to learn and share
If you feel passionately about the benefits of nature and their potential in addressing health inequalities, join our Green Health Network. All you need are a few good ideas, a little time to spare and a willingness to be involved with promoting and supporting green health activities across the Lothians.