Both studies aim to recruit volunteers who have a diagnosis or have experienced symptoms of schizophrenia or psychosis. Photo credit - Samantha Eden

Could outdoor experiences help people with schizophrenia or psychosis?

With World Mental Health Day on 10 October, researchers at University of Exeter are calling for participants to take part in two studies investigating whether outdoor experiences can help people with schizophrenia or psychosis.

The studies are examining the effects of "green spaces" like parks and woods and "blue spaces" such as rivers, lakes and the sea.

One study will investigate the benefits of visiting blue spaces, while the other will focus on exercise in green or blue spaces.

"There's a lot of research showing that green and blue spaces reduce stress and improve mental health," said Sammy Eden, who leads the blue spaces study.

"Much less is known about their effect on people with serious mental health conditions.”

"We want to hear from people with experience of these conditions, to find out if and how they have benefitted from being in nature."

Danielle Windget, who leads the physical activity study, said: "We don’t want to make any assumptions about people's experiences.

"We have an open mind, and we want to hear people's voices and understand how they engage with these spaces.

"Many people have changed their habits due to the COVID pandemic, so we also want to hear how spending more or less time in nature has affected people with serious mental health conditions."

Both studies aim to recruit volunteers who have a diagnosis or have experienced symptoms of schizophrenia or psychosis.

For more information or to volunteer to take part in the blue spaces project, please visit: www.exeter.ac.uk/mooddisorders/research/currentprojects/bluespaces or contact Samantha Eden S.Eden@exeter.ac.uk or 01392 724 595.

For more information or to volunteer to take part in the physical activity project please visit: www.exeter.ac.uk/mooddisorders/research/currentprojects/greenspaces or contact Danielle Windget on dw422@exeter.ac.uk

The blue spaces study is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council's Closing The Gap scheme, which is administered by the University of York.

Date: 8 October 2021

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