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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2023

Nature-Based Therapy in Individuals with Mental Health Disorders, with a Focus on Mental Well-Being and Connectedness to Nature—A Pilot Study

Joschko, Lilly; Palsdottir, Anna Maria; Grahn, Patrik; Hinse, Maximilian


In times of social and ecological crises, such as COVID-19 with lockdowns and implementing the impact of climate change, mental health degrades. Being outdoors in nature can be health-promoting, can decrease depression, and increase mental well-being. This pilot study investigated the relationships between nature-based therapy, mental health, and individuals’ connectedness to nature. We hypothesize that nature-based therapy has a positive impact on individual mental health and connectedness to nature. A mixed-method approach was used to evaluate the effectiveness of nature-based therapy for young psychosomatic patients. The results demonstrated improvements in mental well-being and connectedness to nature through therapy. Additionally, depression scores decreased. Patients reported the importance of the therapist setting the space, the supportive environment, the poems that fostered the nature connection, improvement at the soul level, and overall doing something meaningful. Every patient experienced nature-based therapy as effective. To conclude, the study gives a first insight into the processes of nature-based therapy in the German population at work and the effectiveness of nature-based therapy. Further questions, e.g., season effects, longitudinal effects, and whether patients with low connectedness to nature gain more out of the intervention remain unanswered.


garden therapy; psychosomatic patients; young adults; depression; stational care at hospital; effectiveness

Published in

International journal of environmental research and public health
2023, Volume: 20, number: 3, article number: 2167

      SLU Authors

      • Associated SLU-program

        Built environment
        SLU Future One Health
        SLU Urban Futures

        Sustainable Development Goals

        SDG11 Sustainable cities and communities
        SDG3 Good health and well-being

        UKÄ Subject classification

        Landscape Architecture
        Applied Psychology
        Occupational Therapy

        Publication identifier


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