Nature-based health interventions for refugees - The Welcoming

  • Wendelboe-Nelson, Charlotte (Principal Investigator)
  • Fisher, Jessica (Co-investigator)
  • Straka, Tanja (Co-investigator)
  • Silva, Rita (Co-investigator)
  • Bonn, Aletta (Collaborator)
  • Marselle, Melissa (Collaborator)
  • Wheeler, Benedict (Project Partner)
  • Oh, Rachel (Collaborator)

Project Details


Refugees and asylum seekers experience multifaceted and diverse circumstances, and are subsequently at greater risk of physical and mental health difficulties. Spending time in the natural environment is known to benefit mental health and wellbeing (MHWB). As small-scale benefits to MHWB can be scaled up to entire populations, there are significant cost-savings available for public health sectors. This has led to the emergence of ‘nature-based health interventions’ (NBI) being prescribed by general health and community practitioners. Yet, questions remain about what ‘types’ of nature (e.g. biodiversity) could be the most beneficial for people’s wellbeing. Moreover, instruments designed to measure both MHWB and biodiversity are typically developed in Western, relatively healthy populations, with little understanding of how they can be reliably applied to diverse communities. Here, we will evaluate four NBIs with a refugee charity, The Welcoming, in Edinburgh, UK. Using focus groups and photo-elicitation exercises, followed by qualitative analyses, we will examine how NBI may benefit those with a diverse (and sometimes traumatic) set of experiences and backgrounds, focussing on (i) the application of specific research tools, and (ii) the role of biodiversity. We aim to capture any longevity of participation impacts through multiple follow-up activities. This evaluation will be fed back to The Welcoming to improve and better tailor existing NBI for the future. There are wider implications for those working with refugee communities, researchers working in the nature-health nexus thinking about applying theory to practice, and those working with NBI in other minority sectors of society.
Short titleThe Welcoming
Effective start/end date1/09/2231/03/23


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