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GreenME – Advancing Greencare in Europe: an integrated multi-scalar approach for the expansion of nature-based therapies to improve Mental health Equity
Client:European commission/ Horizon Europe/ HORIZON-CL6-2022-COMMUNITIES-02-two-stage (Resilient, inclusive, healthy and green rural, coastal and urban communities)
Partner(s):Bologna (IT); University of Kent (GB); Sveriges Lantbruksuniversitet (SE); The University of Salford (GB); Szkola Glowna Gospodarstwa Wiejskiego (PL); Research Foundation of the City University of New York (USA); Old Continent (BE); Fundacja NeuroLandscape (NL); Gesellschaft für Gartenbau und Therapie e.V. (DE); Social Farms & Gardens (GB); Instytut Psychiatrii Neurologii (PL); Shinrin-Yoku Sweden (SE); EtaBeta Coop. Soc. Onlus (IT); Stadt Herne, FB Gesundheitsmanagement (DE); Mind in Bexley and East Kent (GB); Asociación Española de Horticultura y Jardinería Social y Terapéutica (ES)
Time frame:09/2023 – 09/2027

One in nine adults in the EU suffers from a mental health disorder, a burden which has been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, there is burgeoning evidence that green care (i.e., the provision of health and social services via contact with nature) can be used to promote mental health and wellbeing for the general population and particularly for underprivileged populations with greater risk for mental health disorders.

Against this background, the project GreenME – Advancing Greencare in Europe: an integrated multi-scalar approach for the expansion of nature-based therapies to improve Mental health Equity aims to identify ways in which effective nature-based therapies and a broader green care framework can be scaled-up to improve adult mental health and wellbeing equity in Europe while contributing to multiple socio-ecological co-benefits. GreenME understands green care as a three-scale continuum from nature-in-everyday-life (e.g. the existence of green and blue infrastructure for viewing and walks) to nature-based health promotion (the promotion of active interaction with nature such as gardening and conservation) to nature-based therapy (the provision of treatment for individual patients).

The overall concept of the project is based on a transdisciplinary and mixed-methods approach to identify opportunities, barriers, causal pathways and patterns of (in)equitable distribution of mental health and wellbeing benefit from green care in seven study countries (Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain, Sweden, the UK, and the USA).

Engaging health professionals, potential patients, healthcare system administrators and green and blue infrastructure planners, managers, and members from other European and national projects on green care and nature-based solutions, the consortium will co-create solutions and guidelines including an EU framework and country-specific schemes for bolstering green care along with an identified community of green care actors.

Under the leadership of the University of Barcelona, the ILS is working on these topics together with a European consortium of 19 partners, including nine academic and research partners and ten target actors. The project will start in September 2023 and run for 48 months.

In the project, the ILS will, among other things, work on developing a co-creation methodology and establishing a green care community for co-creation and constant knowledge transfer. These activities aim to result in co-developing national green-care schemes via several workshops. Based on the work of the green care community, guidelines will be co-developed that advocate for an integrated approach to green care. In addition, the ILS contributes to developing an assessment tool for an audit of green and blue spaces by creating GIS maps depicting the location and type of green and blue spaces and nature-based activities locally available in the German study area.

This project is carried out by ILS Research gGmbH.

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