The Healthy Nature, Healthy People movement is about promoting and strengthening the connection between health, wellbeing and nature.
As part of this movement in New Zealand, DOC and the Mental Health Foundation have partnered to raise awareness about the positive effects of getting out into nature for your mental health and wellbeing.
A Memorandum of Understanding was signed in November 2015. It forms the basis of our enduring relationship and a commitment to work together. We will explore ways to amplify and promote the importance of nature to the mental health and wellbeing of people.
Initially, the focus is on raising awareness through our respective awareness campaigns. Our 2016 campaigns are focused on enriching the lives of Kiwis through connecting with nature:
- the Conservation Week theme was Healthy Nature, Healthy People – Join the Team, and
- the Mental Health Awareness Week (October 2016) theme is Connect with nature – for good mental health and wellbeing.
Value of connecting with nature
There are many amazing wild and natural places in New Zealand for people to visit and enjoy. Personal experiences and connection with nature on a regular basis provide, amongst other things, powerful benefits for people's health and wellbeing.
Connecting with nature has been shown to improve concentration, attention and emotional functioning as well as buffering against stress, lowering cortisol levels (flight or fight response) and improves the immune system. It significantly improves mood, enhances wellbeing and provides greater life satisfaction.
Mental Health Foundation website