There is growing evidence that spending time in natural and semi-natural places such as urban parks, woodlands, mountains, rivers and coastal areas can reduce people’s risk of various health and social issues, including heart disease, diabetes, depression, and loneliness, and build resilience to every-day and longer-term challenges.
Many relatively small-scale "nature-based" therapies and interventions have sprung up across the world to support people with these and other conditions to access nature for their health and wellbeing. However, little is known about their overall effectiveness or how desirable or feasible it is to make nature-based therapies and interventions more mainstream, acceptable to both patients and health care professionals, while also recognising the possible impact on sensitive nature environments.
The new €6.3 million EU Horizon Europe and UK Research & Innovation-funded RESONATE project will explore these issues with a review of interventions globally and in-depth exploration of 9 nature-based therapy case studies, including five randomised controlled trials (RCTs) across Europe. Three Social Innovation Actions will develop community focused nature-based resilience Hubs to demonstrate best-practices for scaling-up and scaling-out successful interventions.
RESONATE (“Building individual and community resilience through nature-based therapies”) brings together 14 partners, principally universities from across Europe, and is coordinated by the University of Vienna. Experts running nature-based therapies in America, Australia and Canada will be among those advising the project. EuroHealthNet is excited to announce that it is a key partner in this research project.
"We have known for some years that nature can benefit people’s mental and physical health and wellbeing. However, turning this knowledge into specific interventions that are recognised and supported by doctors, health practitioners and health and social care systems, and accepted by local communities and landowners, remains a challenge."
Director of EuroHealthNet
“One key factor to ensure such interventions or therapies become more widespread is ensuring they are accessible and affordable, and do not increase health inequalities. Assessing the distributional impact of the project’s case studies will help us understand how to design and implement nature-based therapies that benefit everyone equally”
EuroHealthNet’s Senior Project Coordinator
lead for RESONATE’s health equity research
The RESONATE project runs from June 2023-May 2027 and will use the results of the research to produce a collection of open access Nature-based Therapy Guides for different stakeholders, practitioners and policymakers. These guides will help local communities decide if introducing nature-based therapies and intervention in their area is right for them, and if so provide a roadmap for how best to ensure the interventions are as acceptable and effective as possible.