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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2015

Using Nature-Based Rehabilitation to Restart a Stalled Process of Rehabilitation in Individuals with Stress-Related Mental Illness

Sahlin, Eva; Ahlborg Jr., Gunnar; Tenenbaum, Artur; Grahn, Patrik


After a period of decrease, sick leave in Sweden due to psychiatric diagnoses is on the increase. The lack of established rehabilitation programmes for patients with stress-related mental disorders (SRMD) has opened up for the use of garden/nature in a multimodal rehabilitation context (Nature-Based Rehabilitation, NBR). Region Vastra Gotaland (VGR) started an NBR to offer additional rehabilitation for its employees on long-term sick leave due to SRMD, where initial care had not been sufficient. The aim was to explore whether the mental health and well-being of NBR participants had improved at the end of the NBR and at three follow-ups, and to explore the development of sick leave and health care utilization according to the NBR model (n = 57) and an occupational health service (OHS) model (n = 45). Self-assessment instruments for measuring burnout, depression, anxiety and wellbeing, and data from regional and national registers were used. Results showed decreased scores on burnout, depression and anxiety, and increased well-being scores and significantly reduced health care utilization in the NBR group. A large movement from ordinary sickness benefit to rehabilitation benefit was observed, which was not observed in the OHS group. The two groups were in different rehabilitation phases, which limited comparisons. The results point to beneficial effects of using NBR for this patient group and for enhancing a stalled rehabilitation process.

Published in

International journal of environmental research and public health
2015, volume: 12, number: 2, pages: 1928-1951
Publisher: MDPI AG

Authors' information

Sahlin, Eva
Ahlborg Jr., Gunnar
University of Gothenburg
Tenenbaum, Artur
Skaraborg Hospital Skövde

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG3 Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages

UKÄ Subject classification

Other Health Sciences
Occupational Therapy

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