Wetlands and wellbeing

Water’s healing powers

Whether it’s a beautiful reedbed, a gently meandering river, huge open skies or the first catkins on a willow tree, wetland nature offers an escape from everyday pressures and demands.

Not only does it give us fresh air, peace, beauty and space, it offers us a deeper connection and an awareness that we’re part of something so much bigger than ourselves.

And with one in four people in England experiencing poor mental health each year1, there’s never been a more important time to get out and enjoy wetland nature.

Spending time around water and wetland nature can really boost our wellbeing and give us comfort in so many ways.

1. Adult psychiatric morbidity in England, 2007: results of a household survey.

65% of people say that being near water is their favourite part of nature and improves their mental wellbeing

Research by the Mental Health Foundation

Make the most of your visit to a wetland

To help you make the most of nature’s healing powers and regain a sense of calm, we’ve partnered with the Mental Health Foundation to pull together lots of tips and ideas on how you can use a trip to your local wetland to boost your health and wellbeing, whatever the weather.

So what is it about water?

We believe wetlands have a unique role to play in supporting people’s physical and mental health. If you’ve ever visited a WWT reserve, or even your local river or pond, you’ll know there’s something special about being around water.

Which is why we’re busy researching the impact our ‘blue’ spaces have on our health and wellbeing and looking at how we can maximise the benefits wetlands can bring to individuals and to society.

We’re partnering with leading UK universities, community groups and mental health charities and our research has a common goal: to learn more and provide the evidence, so we can maximise the benefits of nature and enable key decision makers to recognise them too.

WWT staff member adjusting a headset on a volunteer, which is being used to measure wellbeing-related statistics

Blue Prescriptions

One of the ways we have brought benefits of wetlands to those that need it the most is through our Blue Prescribing Project.

This is a nature-based form of social prescribing which offers specialised support with your mental health. The nature prescription helps people experiencing poor mental health, anxiety or depression by giving them guided first-hand experience of wetland nature's health and wellbeing benefits.

Group of people leaning on a boardwalk overlooking a pool of water with lush summer vegetation

Participants are supported by trained health and wellbeing facilitators through a structured programme of activities that support and improve health and wellbeing.

Find out more

"I feel happy and calm here. Truly at peace. The murmuration over the water in the sun was stunning."

Blue Prescribing course participant