Forests contribute to the health agenda by providing natural restorative spaces. Studies from many countries, including Australia, Japan, and Sweden have highlighted the contributions of trees, woodlands and green spaces to people’s overall health and well-being. These studies also show that benefits are not confined to those of us who are active in nature. We can also gain simply by looking, even by just looking out the window.
Because the link between walking outdoors and wellbeing is so important, Coillte is delighted to have been able to join forces with the HSE, Mental Health Ireland and See Change to promote positive mental health and wellbeing in the beautiful surrounds of our forests and forest parks all over Ireland.
We have collaborated on a number of projects including the Green Ribbon campaign, our Solstice Wellbeing Day in June and other private and public Coillte events.
Woodlands For Health is an innovative project developed by Coillte in partnership with Mental Health Ireland, HSE and Wicklow Mental Health Association based on Branching Out which was successfully applied by the Forestry Commission in Scotland.
Woodlands For Health is prescribed by mental health professionals at the HSE/Wicklow Mental Health Service, participants are referred to the programme to engage in woodland activities which enhance their quality of life.
In 2012 the project commenced in Wicklow to date more than 180 people have benefitted.
The HSE and University College Dublin evaluated the programme, 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 2016 a pilot programme commenced in Dun Laoghaire Rathdown, participants are referred to this programme by the HSE/Cluain Mhuire Mental Health Service. This project is a partnership between Coillte, Dun Laoghaire Sports Partnership, the HSE, Mental Health Ireland, Get Ireland Walking and the Dublin Mountains Partnership.
Woodlands For Health is a great example of how the environmental and health sector can work together to benefit participants mental and physical health.
Link Irish Times
Link Eco Eye
Coillte is a partner organisation in the Green Ribbon Let’s Talk, Let’s Walk campaign providing its Forest Parks and trails for a national programme of events in collaboration with the IFA, See Change and Mental Health Ireland during the month of May since 2013.
The Green Ribbon has been established as the international symbol for mental health awareness and was introduced to Ireland by See Change.
Coillte are pleased that these annual Green Ribbon events providing communities with the opportunity to enjoy two things inherent to us in Ireland….Nature and Talking!
Coillte have hosted a number of events in partnership with Mental Health Ireland including the “Summer Solstice” at Cavan Burren Park in 2015 and the “5000 Steps To Well-Being at Avondale Forest Park, Rathdrum Co. Wicklow during World Mental Health Week in 2016.
We run three high potential businesses, Forestry, Land Solutions and Medite Smartply, which delivered earnings (EBITDA) of €98.3 million in 2016.