Get close to nature

Environmental awareness has a proven positive effect on personal and community well-being, and is also effective in the treatment of mental health conditions, including PTSD. According to the World Health Organisation, Mental Health is shaped "by the social, economic, and physical environments in which people live." 

The World Health Organization further defines mental health, as “a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community”. 

Natural environments and engaging in outdoor activities such as walking, running, cycling, horse riding, and gardening have known benefits for mental health. These activities reduce stress, anxiety and depression. Out door activities can also reduce social isolation, and increases a persons sense of well-being.

In refugee camps across Iraq
, volunteers with the AMAR International Charitable Foundation, organise regular clean-ups of camps for people who are still internally displaced. These clean-ups include removing litter and helping to safely dispose of general household waste. 

The AMAR Foundation's school in Basra is also home to the “Katharine Harborne Garden”, which provides the children with a hands-on environmental experience. For the children, gardening is therapeutic and also provides a practical skill, where the children learn how to grow fruit and vegetables. 

The Mesopotamian marshes are a rare wetland - believed to be the original Garden of Eden - as well as having a unique ecosystem. The area is home to around 300,000 Marsh Arabs. AMAR also campaigned for the area’s recognition as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, affording it an increased level of protection. 

Across the UK, Sea Life Centre's are child and disabled friendly environments. Wheelchairs, pushchairs and mobility scooters are the only transport devices permitted within Sea Life Centre's. On selected dates, they also hold a quieter SEA LIFE experience, for those with autism and other sensory requirements. 

Whether it's the place you fell in love, somewhere to escape the bustle of everyday life or get closer to the nature, the UK's National Trust helps to make us who we are. Everyone is invited to explore 780 miles of coastline, over 248,000 hectares of land and over 500 historic houses, castles, gardens, parks and nature reserves. 

The UK's coastline and beaches are looked after by a dedicated team of volunteers, who work for the Royal National Lifeboat Institute. RNLI lifeguards are qualified in lifesaving and casualty care. RNLI lifeguards also monitor sea conditions, watch people on the beach and offer safety advice in classrooms across the country.

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