Earth Day, celebrated annually on April 22, supports environmental protection and recognizes the importance of preserving nature for our wellbeing and that of the planet. In April, Brookhaven Retreat recognizes the impact the natural world can have on mental health and substance abuse recovery.
Proximity to nature is linked to improved physical health. A study published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine has shown that where trees have disappeared, populations suffer from higher rates of heart and respiratory diseases. Mental health is also affected by the presence or absence of nature; the closer humans live to nature, the better our mental health is likely to be.
Time outdoors has been linked with decreased levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. Lower levels of this stress hormone reduce the risk of anxiety and stress-related illnesses. Proximity to nature has also been linked with lower levels of depression and anxiety; routinely spending time outdoors significantly improves the mood of patients with major depressive disorder, and increases energy and wellbeing.
Brookhaven Retreat believes that a connection with the outdoors plays an important role in a woman’s wellbeing. It encourages the women in its residential treatment facility to walk its nature trails as a way of self-soothing and increasing both physical and mental wellness.
On April 22, Brookhaven Retreat commits itself to continued care of its green spaces. Through its efforts, women may continue to reap the mental health benefits of a calming natural environment and Brookhaven Retreat hopes that, upon discharge, women will continue spending time in nature as one way to help maintain lasting emotional wellness.