Woodlands for Health Walks

Woodlands for Health Walks

Encouraging physical and mental wellbeing in Roscommon

Woodlands for Health offers a recovery-focused programme which compliments traditional mental health treatment.

Engagement with nature through outdoor activities can have a significant positive impact on people’s mental health and wellbeing. Natural environments such as woodland areas are restorative, can reduce stress, feelings of tension, anger, confusion and depression, and aid recovery from stressful events.

The key features of the programme are:

  • 12 weeks of activity.
  • All levels of fitness are welcome and the walks are adapted to the participant’s abilities.
  • Walks are led by experienced staff and volunteers.
  • Walk locations differ each week. Different locations are used to keep the walks interesting, familiarise the participants with multiple locations and opportunities for activity within their community, and advance to more challenging walks as the participants progress.
  • The programme aims to develop social and networking skills.

About Woodlands for Health

The Woodlands for Health programme was first introduced to Co. Wicklow in 2012 by Coillte in association with HSE, Mental Health Ireland, Wicklow Mental Health Association and Wicklow Sports Partnership where is continues to successfully run. In 2014, the programme was evaluated by University College Dublin and the HSE, which found that participants improved their mood by 75 per cent and sleep by 66 per cent; in addition, their thoughts of suicide declined by 82 per cent.

In 2018, Get Ireland Walking in partnership with Coillte and Mental Health Ireland received funding to pilot a national dissemination of this programme. This programme was adopted successfully in Laois, Roscommon, Limerick, Wexford and Sligo. The programme is coordinated at a local level by the Local Sports Partnerships, with local level steering groups including Mental Health Ireland’s Development Officers, Mental Health Associations, HSE mental health services, HSE Health Promotion and Improvement and Coillte.

If you are interested in this initiative or for more information contact us on 090 6630853 or email info@rosactive.org.