14 May 2007


From a BBC news article:

Alternative therapies

Mind, the mental health charity, say the UK is trailing behind other countries in the use of other therapies.

In the Netherlands, Italy, Germany, Austria, Belgium and Slovenia, patients with depression are prescribed agricultural work.

Holland has 600 care farms that are part of the health service compared with 43 in the UK none of which are aimed at mental health.

In a report on ecotherapy, Mind said 93% of GPs have prescribed drugs due to lack of alternatives.

Ecotherapy, described as getting outdoors and getting active in a green environment, should be considered as a treatment option they said.

Researchers at the University of Essex compared a walk in a country park with a walk in a shopping centre in a study of 20 people.

They found 71% reported decreased levels of depression after a country walk compared with 45% after a shopping centre walk.

Participants also felt much less tense and reported greatly increased self esteem after a green walk.

But after a walk in a shopping centre, 50% said their feelings of tension increased and 44% said their self-esteem decreased after the walk in a shopping centre.

A separate survey of 108 people who regularly take part in green activities run by local Mind associations found 90% said it was the combination of nature and exercise that had the greatest effect on them and 94% said green activities had lifted their depression.

Paul Farmer, chief executive of Mind said ecotherapy was a credible, clinically-valid treatment option and needs to be prescribed by GPs especially as access to treatments other than antidepressants was extremely limited.

"We're not saying that ecotherapy can replace drugs but the debate needs to be broadened."

Sounds to me like civilization is depressing people..... I know how SCIENCE and TECHNOLOGY can fix this: Virtual Nature Cafes (VNC). While sitting on exerstools drinking lattes people plug in visual headsets. Even though they are still in dismal, grey, crime-ridden, polluted, filthy cities, they feel like they are in a wilderness (drinking wilderness lattes) and get happy.

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