Do you or a loved one experience challenges with mental health, well-being or coping? Do you sometimes feel anxious, depressed or find it difficult to concentrate? You are not alone with these feelings. According to the, mental health disorders are common among young people. About 20–25 percent of young people suffer from some kind of mental health disorder. The most common disorders are anxiety disorder, depression and attention disorders.

There are various ways to prevent and alleviate the symptoms associated with these disorders. One way that has been scientifically proven to be effective is to spend time in a natural environment. Even 15 minutes in nature improves mood and relaxes. Nature is easily accessible to everyone and you can get close to nature according to your needs and schedule.

Nature affects health on three levels: through seeing and observing nature, through being close to nature, and through activities that take place in nature. You get the best effect when you expose yourself to immediate sensory experiences from nature, such as observing landscapes or listening to nature sounds. However, just looking at nature pictures can already improve your mood. Activities that take place in nature include nature exercise and adventurous events, such as climbing, kayaking and exploring caves.

The well-being effects of the natural environment focus on physical, psychological and social factors. Nature calms, relaxes and refreshes and strengthens self-esteem and self-image. In addition, being in nature increases problem-solving skills and creativity and improves concentration. Exercising in nature, on the other hand, brings joy and helps to escape everyday pressures and everyday worries. Nature exercise also increases balance and body control.

The young people themselves have described being in nature as liberating and revitalizing. Young people have experienced that they are in an equal position with others and have been able to be themselves. Difficult issues have been easier to deal with and things have taken on new dimensions. Big worries don’t necessarily feel so big after being in nature.

When they were in the natural environment, the young people said that it was easier for them to make contact with other young people and adults. In this way, creating friendships has also been more natural and easier. The adventurous activities done together have strengthened group dynamics and the feeling of belonging to a group.

If the mental health challenges continue for longer than two weeks or if they are strong, you should also seek help from a professional. Help for suicidal thoughts should be sought immediately. The well-being effects of nature can also be used while waiting for services or already in treatment.