The trial involved health professionals providing suitable patients with written advice or a ‘nature prescription’ to be part of the program.
It aimed to reduce nature barriers such as cost, access, as well as time and skill, and to connect participants with their local environment.
Research has shown that contact with nature enhances people’s health and wellbeing, and it supports social connections.
The concept of nature prescriptions (or sometimes referred to as green prescriptions) has been tested internationally and has the potential to supplement orthodox medical treatments.
Nature prescriptions are widely used by health professionals in the United States, United Kingdom and New Zealand. There is only one other known trial of the program in Australia. It was delivered in 2011 in south-west Victoria and it proved successful.
The research trial involved 8 general practitioners (GPs) in Adelaide referring around 30 suitable patients (suffering mild to moderate diabetes, pre-diabetes, obesity, anxiety, depression or low mood) to a free 8 week facilitated Nature Prescription program.
The program ran from May to June 2021 and included 8 contact sessions.
The sessions helped equip participants with the skills and desire to connect with nature in their local area. It included topics such as guided nature journaling, finding your local green space and discussions on the importance of connecting with nature.
The trial found that people like the idea of prescriptions for nature to increase wellbeing, but very few will sign up to the technique to improve their health.
It also concluded that connecting with nature has real benefits for people’s wellbeing, and that the concept of nature prescriptions needs to be demystified in South Australia to attract more people and improve their health.
Download a copy of SA's Nature Prescription Trial Report (PDF | 2.24 MB).
Our Nature Prescription program in South Australia was a trial only.
It can be used to inform the development of future programs locally, nationally and internationally.
We encourage you to contact your local GP if you’re interested in getting involved or running a future Nature Prescription program.