Last month, two students from the School of Art, Architecture and Design at the University of South Australia released a report based on their studies of Next Steps, a Neami National walking group.
Next Steps is part of Neami’s eco-health approach, which acknowledges links between the environment and health, and aims to help consumers improve their physical and mental wellbeing by walking in nature. Consumers and staff go for walks outdoors over six weeks. Next Steps runs at all Neami sites in Australia.
The study aimed to measure the impact of Next Steps on “mood, self-esteem and nature relatedness for individuals with severe and enduring mental illness.”
Participants were surveyed before and after the group and the students also ran three focus groups on the final day of the group.
The report describes several themes that emerged from the study, including a positive experience of nature and the benefits of walking. The report also discusses some constraints and limitations of both the program and the study itself.
You can read the report in detail below.