We work with communities to address climate anxiety, improve mental health through nature-based activities, and build emotional resilience in children through outdoor learning and play.

This Mental Health Awareness Week, 15 to 21 May, we're sharing three examples of ACT’s nature-based projects which are good for mental health.

1. Addressing climate anxiety

Photo by Stan Phillips, NatureScot

Photo: Loch Fyne, by Stan Phillips, NatureScot

"Rising sea levels, the threat of flooding, more extremes of weather, disrupted food systems and biodiversity loss, are concerns we face as our climate changes. Through Carbon Literacy training, we are helping Argyll and Bute residents, business owners, councillors and community leaders to understand the causes and impacts of climate change, and, importantly, how to tackle it."

– Jamie Joyce, ACT Now project officer and accredited Carbon Literacy trainer 

We’re addressing climate anxiety – a fear of environmental doom – through our carbon literacy and climate change awareness training in Argyll and Bute.

Carbon Literacy training is empowering because it teaches people about the causes and impacts of climate change, plus ways to tackle it. 

A course covers:

  • the science behind climate change,
  • social equity and climate change,
  • what you can do to act on climate change, and
  • strategies and skills for communicating action on climate change.

Find out more about our Carbon Literacy training here. 

Eco-anxiety weighs heavily on children and young people and that’s why we’re also developing Cooler Futures, our pilot climate change training programme for children and young people. 

Read about Cooler Futures here. 

2. Reducing stress and anxiety through nature-based projects

Photo: Branching Out by Katie, ACT

"As you enter the woods the noise and light levels change. There is an open ceiling of branches and leaves. There are no hard noises underfoot or echoing from the road. There is a quality to the air you breathe which is refreshing. You become aware of birdsong, or rain on the leaves or the feeling of silence. Your attention is drawn to your immediate surroundings, outwards from thoughts and inwards from your normal environment. You are in the moment. Trees provide sanctuary and security."

– Participant from one of our Branching Out programmes. 

We’re reducing stress and anxiety in adults with poor mental health through nature-based activities.

Branching Out is a national partnership between NHS Highland, ACT and community organisations, and is overseen by Scottish Forestry. Together, we provide 12-week programmes of woodland activities designed to help people to tackle stress, anxiety and other mental health conditions by getting back to nature.

Read about Branching out here

3. Building emotional resilience in young children

Photo: Steve Carter

"The children at MAKI Pups love to explore, learn and play around our woodland and walled garden. At the nursery, they’ll make mud pies and potions, climb trees, grow veggies and flowers, go on woodland adventures and get creative using nature for arts and crafts. They love getting their hands dirty in the polytunnel and potting sheds."

– Erin Kennedy, MAKI Pups outdoor nursery manager

We’re building emotional resilience in young children in Argyll and Bute through outdoor learning and play at our MAKI Pups outdoor nursery in Lochgilphead. 

At MAKI Pups outdoor nursery we are passionate about the positive impact, both physically and emotionally, that being outdoors can have on young children. We know that outdoor play improves children’s wellbeing and mental health, it builds resilience and self-esteem and helps to regulate emotions. Nature is calming, and being outdoors improves children's overall wellbeing. 

Read about MAKI Pups here. 

Benefits of outdoor play is outlined here by Play Scotland

How you can support our work

Photo by Stan Phillips

With your help, we can continue to act now for people and the planet. 

  • Donate today and helps us to continue to deliver our projects.
  • Become a member and stay informed about our work and developments.
  • Share our stories with your family and friends so that more people can support what we do.

Act now. Enjoy forever. 

  • Argyll & the Isles Coast & Countryside Trust is a Carbon Literate Organisation which supplies Carbon Literacy training.