Forest and mental health

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Faced with the rise in mental disorders among young people, an innovative initiative is emerging: short stays in the forest. This pilot project, bringing together mental health professionals and foresters, aims to assess the benefits of nature on the health of hospitalised teenagers. Funded by the King Baudouin Foundation, it also aims to train professionals and disseminate its results in 2024.


Mental health problems, especially among young people, have been on the increase in recent years. What's more, more and more studies and research are showing a strong correlation between the benefits of the forest and human health, both physical and mental.
The aim is to set up a pilot scheme of short stays in forests for teenagers hospitalised with mental health problems. The results of this pilot project, which brings together foresters and mental health professionals, will be used to define a framework for healthy activities in the forest.

Short breaks in the forest

The test project, which started in May-June 2023, plans to organise around ten short stays in the forest. The aim of this activity is to reconnect young people with nature and assess the benefits to their health. Preparation prior to the short stay and an evaluation carried out jointly with the young people are also planned.
Each group is made up of a maximum of 6 young people (aged 14 to 20), an educator, a nurse and a teacher from the partner school. A forester is present for a short time during the stay to ensure a suitable welcome in the forest and to share his link with nature.

Financing & objectives

A budget has been obtained thanks to the SRFB's close collaboration with the King Baudouin Foundation (which is soliciting companies and donors), for a period of 18 months (until the end of 2024).
In addition to the direct impact on the mental health of the young people taking part in the short breaks, the project aims to directly train around twenty professionals in the health benefits of nature. At the end of the project (late 2024), the partners undertake to disseminate the results to the scientific community and their respective professional networks.