Using Nature-Based rehabilitation to restart a stalled process of rehabilitation in individuals with Stress-Related mental illness

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Abstract

After a period of decrease, sick leave in Sweden due to psychiatric diagnoses is on the increase. The lack of established rehabilitation programmes for patients with stress-related mental disorders (SRMD) has opened up for the use of garden/nature in a multimodal rehabilitation context (Nature-Based Rehabilitation, NBR). Region Västra Götaland (VGR) started an NBR to offer additional rehabilitation for its employees on long-term sick leave due to SRMD, where initial care had not been sufficient. The aim was to explore whether the mental health and well-being of NBR participants had improved at the end of the NBR and at three follow-ups, and to explore the development of sick leave and health care utilization according to the NBR model (n = 57) and an occupational health service (OHS) model (n = 45). Self-assessment instruments for measuring burnout, depression, anxiety and wellbeing, and data from regional and national registers were used. Results showed decreased scores on burnout, depression and anxiety, and increased well-being scores and significantly reduced health care utilization in the NBR group. A large movement from ordinary sickness benefit to rehabilitation benefit was observed, which was not observed in the OHS group. The two groups were in different rehabilitation phases, which limited comparisons. The results point to beneficial effects of using NBR for this patient group and for enhancing a stalled rehabilitation process.

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Sahlin, E., Ahlborg, G., Tenenbaum, A., & Grahn, P. (2015). Using Nature-Based rehabilitation to restart a stalled process of rehabilitation in individuals with Stress-Related mental illness. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 12(2), 1928–1951. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph120201928

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