The Hull & East Riding Social Mediation And Self Help (SMASH) team at Humber Teaching NHS Foundation Trust work in local schools to help support young people with their mental health and wellbeing.
As part of this, and particularly throughout the phases of lockdown in the past two years, the team have been exploring new ways to connect young people with nature and the outdoors.
The latest development from the SMASH team is the Tree4Life Project, which is where they work with their partnered schools to plant trees on the school grounds, for young people to enjoy on their breaks and feel a part of positive group work.
Research shows that spending time outdoors can alleviate stress and provide a sense of calm, long term benefits include increased mental health stability and feelings of positivity.
The SMASH team first worked to develop a programme for the young people named SMASH Grows. This was first established in a school with space for a full garden, which had a fantastic impact on young people’s emotional wellbeing, as they found that spending time outdoors came with more things to appreciate. The garden became a calm, therapeutic sensory area that both the young people and staff could access and enjoy daily, and those who were involved in the setting up of the garden and planting particularly noted a positive impact on their mental health and wellbeing.
The team are proud to announce that they have recently partnered with Beverley-based charity, The Beverley Cherry Tree Community Centre, and that a successful funding bid has been approved with the Woodland Trust, which will involve 420 trees being donated to schools across the area, allowing the Tree4Life Project to kickstart with a boost.
As part of the Tree4Life project, young people in partnered schools will be planting trees and learning the positive impact this can have on the environment. The project will allow young people to feel they are a part of and will have a lasting impact in their schools, as well as connecting with their peers and teachers and having some fun following a challenging couple of years during the pandemic.
Tony Henderson, Lead SMASH Practitioner at Humber Teaching NHS Foundation Trust, said:
“Since I started working in the SMASH team three years ago and from my own experiences, I realised the strength of the connection between nature, positive mental health and emotional wellbeing. It has therefore been extremely important to me to weave this into the work I do with young people every day.”
The team are working hard to secure as many trees as possible in the coming weeks and are looking forward to working with more schools on this engaging and important project.
If you are interested in hearing more about the Tree4Life Project or your local SMASH team, please contact them via email email@example.com