A smartphone-based wellbeing intervention

October 7, 2019

We love working with organisations, in particular universities, to help them achieve their research goals. In 2017, we partnered with the Nature Connectedness Research Group at the University of Derby to create a platform that would help measure the impact of noticing nature on mental health. Our case study for the original project can be found here. The study, which prompted users to record ‘good things’ in nature in urban areas, found that the smartphone app can bring clinically significant improvements in mental health.

The research from a University of Derby team led by Professor Miles Richardson and involving colleagues from the University of Sheffield has now been published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. It discusses how nature is being under-utilised by the public health system, and how more investment in preventative nature-based solutions could result in positive outcomes for patients. The app randomised participants to either notice green space or their built surroundings and it allowed the team to repeatedly measure the impact that noticing nature was having on the participants by asking questions at three specific time points: at the start, post an intervention and one month after the very first intervention. The findings show a clinically significant and positive effect on wellbeing not just at the end of the seven-day period, but also one month later when a follow-up assessment was carried out.




Miles Richardson, Professor of Human Factors and Nature Connectedness at the University of Derby, said the study showed promise that a smartphone-based ‘green prescription’ to connect with nature in urban areas could play a role in delivering mental health and wellbeing.

He explained: “Providing everyday opportunities to improve wellbeing and reduce health inequalities through engaging with urban nature with a brief, portable, widely accessible and cost-effective smartphone app intervention is of interest to public health organisations seeking solutions to mental health crises in an increasingly urbanised society.”

We highly recommend reading their research paper in full, but for us our favourite highlights include:

We are continuing to work together with University of Derby to implement some of these findings into new features of our Go Jauntly walking app in 2020.

Our very own Steve Johnson said: “We’re excited to see the results of the study and the positive effect of urban nature on our wellbeing. This really begins to pave the way for more proactive ‘Green Prescriptions’ and we are planning to continue to work with the university to bring this noticing the good things in nature feature-set to the Go Jauntly app.”

Stay tuned!

Main photo by Benjamin Elliott on Unsplash

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