A new study published today reveals that visits to woodlands for recreation could save around £26 million a year in treating mental ill-health in Scotland.
The study also estimates that trees in urban populations could reduce Scotland’s bill for antidepressants by around £1 million each year.
The research study is the first of its kind, demonstrating the “avoided costs” to the NHS through improved well-being by visiting woodlands and nature.
Welcoming the study, Environment Minister Màiri McAllan said: “Scotland’s forests and woodlands offer so many environmental, social and economic benefits to society. During Covid-19 pandemic, access to woodlands has become even more important to individuals in supporting and maintaining their well-being. It is widely recognised that spending time in woodlands can have a positive effect on alleviating conditions such as depression and anxiety. This study is important because we now have a clear monetary value on how much our woodland resource could be worth in tackling poor mental health.”
The study, carried out by Forest Research, was commissioned by Scottish Forestry, the Welsh Government and the Forestry Commission in England.
Posted on: 06 December 2021