NatureMind

Aktia eu1Keskitien säätiö

Project information:

Official name of the project: LuontoMieli - Mielenterveyttä ja hyvinvointia luonnosta (NatureMind - Mental health and well-being from nature)

Duration of the project: 19.12.2022 - 31.12.2024

Project coordinator: Vaasan yliopisto

Project partners: VAMK, Mielle ry

Funding: Leader, Mielle ry, Keskitien säätiö

Budget: 150 000 €

Contact person in VAMK:

Riku Niemistö, Principal Lecturer (School of Health Care and Social Services)

tel. +358 207 663 396, riku.niemisto@vamk.fi

Platform: Smart Well-Being

Language: Finnish

Project description

Green Care utilizes natural environments, farms, gardens and animal assistance to promote and maintain well-being and quality of life. During the last decade, Green Care has been actively developed and researched both nationally and internationally, and successful service trials have been carried out, e.g. in Ostrobothnia (the Leader-funded Natural support for life – Naturligt stöd för livet (LuoNa 2017-2021) project).

The need to expand and establish Green Care activities as part of various health and education services has been strongly highlighted in surveys and pilot projects carried out in the past. Entrepreneurs need support in establishing contacts with health services and other potential customer organizations whose customers could significantly benefit from nature-oriented services produced nearby. In Ostrobothnia, the growing challenges of mental health in particular have increased the need for new effective forms of support for mental health rehabilitation.

This project aims to meet these needs by expanding and deepening the development work of local Green Care service models started in previous projects and by strengthening the area’s competence and cooperation networks. The common mindset brings together the University of Vaasa, Vaasa University of Applied Sciences, the regionally operating Mielle ry, the City of Vaasa, Green Care entrepreneurs and the region’s multi professional networks to create cost-effective solutions that cross sector boundaries, which are based on research, local expertise and experience, and which can also be used after the project ends.

Goals

The project expands the opportunities offered by nature-based activities in promoting well-being and health, lowers the threshold to participate in Green Care activities in rural areas, and increases the utilization of natural elements in the urban environment as well. The three main tasks of the project are

  1. expand and establish the use of Green Care service models based on the well-being effects of nature as support for mental health rehabilitation, as part of social rehabilitation,
  2. strengthen Green Care skills among operators in different sectors and
  3. produce usable information about the effects of the activity by carrying out an assessment of the effectiveness of nature-based methods, which supports both entrepreneurs and users and organizers of mental health services in the establishment and further development of nature-based services

The project’s vision is to develop Ostrobothnia into a national pioneer in nature-oriented cross-administrative promotion of mental health.

Results

The goal of the project is that the Green Care activity that expanded during the project becomes established as part of the social rehabilitation of the area. The course created in the project will remain as a permanently updated online course as part of the continuing education of the open VAMK. The effectiveness assessment methods created in the project will remain for entrepreneurs and social rehabilitation producers to use in the development of their own activities even after the project ends. All operating models and methods created in the project will be published on Green Care Finland ry’s website for general use. The Green Spot operating environments planned during the project can serve as enablers of cooperation between rural Green Care entrepreneurs and client entities and customers in urban areas after the end of the project.

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