A free smartphone-based ‘nature prescription’ for mental health developed by researchers at the University of Derby and the team behind the popular walking app Go Jauntly has been launched.
The Nature Notes feature has been integrated in the Go Jauntly iOS app, which also enables its users to discover, create and share walking routes. By using Nature Notes, users can now record the good things that they notice in nature.
Nature Notes was developed as part of the £1.3m Improving Wellbeing Through Urban Nature project. Studies led by the University of Derby’s Nature Connectedness Research Group (NCRG) found that using a smartphone app to prompt people to notice the good things in urban nature not only increased their connection with nature, but brought key wellbeing benefits to users.
Crucially, the research found it brought clinically significant improvements in quality of life for people living with a mental health difficulty.
The NCRG was the first dedicated research centre to be established to examine the relationship between humans and the rest of the natural world, and has developed some of the first interventions to bring about sustained increases in nature connectedness, enhanced wellbeing, and changes in conservation behaviours.
Miles Richardson, Professor of Human Factors and Nature Connectedness at the University of Derby, said: “We are delighted to have teamed up with Go Jauntly to provide the Nature Notes feature. At a time when mental health is being tested by the lockdown, but we still have access to nature, it could provide a helping hand for many people.
“Our research shows the importance of noticing the simple things in nature for wellbeing, particularly for those who are less connected and don’t spend much time outdoors. Making use of the ever-present smartphone to prompt people to engage with nature is a great way to encourage people to take a moment to look after their mental health and wellbeing.
“We hope it will motivate more people to notice the good things in nature, and, by doing so, experience the positive psychological impact and the lasting connection that those simple interactions can generate, in conjunction with the physical benefit of walking. It also provides a useful tool to help organisations which manage urban green spaces to make the most of those areas for people who live near them.”
Hana Sutch, co-founder and CEO at Go Jauntly, said: “We’re so pleased to be able to launch the new Go Jauntly feature, Nature Notes, with the University of Derby today. Research into this area has really accelerated in the last 10 years, in part due to the mental health crisis. Now more than ever, we’re all experiencing the real link between contact with nature and our mental health. We hope that through familiar technology, Nature Notes can help us all appreciate the positive moments, no matter how small, and ultimately improve our wellbeing.”
Go Jauntly is available to download on the App Store and the Play Store. The new Nature Notes feature is available on iOS and is coming soon to Android. More information about the app can be found here: https://www.gojauntly.com/.
To find out more about the work of the Nature Connectedness Research Group, visit the University of Derby website.