Special edition: New ways to promote mental health

In today’s special edition, we have exclusively compiled news and stories that present new approaches to promoting mental health: from trips to nature on prescription to stand-up comedy courses for men at risk of suicide.

U.S. launches 988 mental health hotline

The UN has been urging states to improve their health systems, saying there are nearly a billion people with mental conditions worldwide. Now the United States is heeding the call by introducing a support network patterned after 911.

Source: Bloomberg

Schoolchildren in Illinois will be able to take 5 mental health days off school

Under a new bill, students who require a break from school for mental health reasons will not need to provide a doctor’s note, nor will they be asked to make up any work that was missed.

Source: NPR

Michigan schools are adopting classes for social-emotional learning

Over 600 schools in Michigan have adopted a mental health curriculum, known as TRAILS, which focuses on social-emotional learning. New classes will help students feel connected and help each other to cope with emotional crises.

Source: MindSite news

A mobile mental health service is helping to de-escalate emergencies in Montana

Missoula’s Mobile Support Team – a collaboration between the fire department and Partnership Health Center – began as a pilot programme in 2020, and is now a permanent crisis response fixture.

Source: Next City

Contact with nature in cities reduces loneliness, study shows

Loneliness is a significant mental health concern and can raise the risk of death by 45%, say scientists.

Source: The Guardian

Ontario doctors are prescribing patients time in nature

The Park Prescriptions programme recommends spending at least 20 minutes a day outside as an alternative to medication.

Source: Treehugger

Green social prescribing is on the rise in the UK

The initiative in which people are referred to nature projects in order to improve their mental health is on the rise across UK.

Source: The Guardian

Outdoor therapy to be prescribed to veterans instead of pharmaceuticals

A new programme aims to offer outdoor activities as treatment to those suffering from PTSD, standing as an alternative to traditional medicine-based approaches to mental health care.

Source: NPR

Squirrel News Podcast on social prescribing

In one of our podcasts episodes, we have also talked about social prescribing. Special guest Julia Hotz explains why more and more doctors in the UK are recommending outdoor pursuits or social activities instead of prescribing specific drugs or medications.

Source: Squirrel News

Bearded Fishermen’s nightly suicide prevention patrol supports those in crisis

Suffering from depression themselves, these fishermen founded a charity to respond to crisis calls in times of distress.

Source: The New York Times

Mental health barbershop project is changing the way we look at therapy

Barbershops have long been safe spaces for people to share their struggles and receive support and advice. A new project is turning this trust into an impactful initiative.

Source: The Denver Channel

Zimbabwe’s community grandmothers lead the way in mental health awareness and support

The Friendship Bench Programme trains people in evidence-based talk therapy in over 70 areas across Zimbabwe, and several countries across the world.

Source: Al Jazeera

Squirrel News Podcast on ‘People Walking’

Loneliness is now considered a public health issue. Is there a cure? Chuck McCarthy may have invented one by chance, when he started a service that connected people who didn’t know each other before to take a walk together.

Source: Squirrel News

A growing body of evidence supports the use of psychedelics in treating depression

Multiple peer-reviewed studies are advocating for the use of magic mushrooms in mental health treatment programmes, with research suggesting a wider use of psilocybin within medicine.

Source: NBC News

Michael Pollan on the ‘new science’ of psychedelics

Michael Pollan, author of ‘How To Change Your Mind’, explains how psychedelic drugs, including LSD and magic mushrooms, are currently being used experimentally in therapeutic settings to treat depression, addiction, and fear of death.

Source: NPR

How dance affects our brain structure and helps tackle depression and Parkinson’s disease

Dancing engages several deep brain structures from memory to motor control, and can evoke novel perceptions, feelings and understanding for one’s environment

Source: The Conversation

Standup comedy course for men at risk of suicide wins NHS funding

After success in Bristol with trauma survivors, Comedy On Referral has been given NHS funding for vulnerable adults to learn standup comedy.

Source: The Guardian

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