Our Better Nature video series: Tapping nature's benefits for mental health

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Nature not only keeps the city cool, but it can help keep mental health in check too. We check out how NParks is working to harness the soothing effects of nature by developing therapeutic gardens for seniors and nature play gardens for children.

SINGAPORE - Nature has a calming effect not just on rising temperatures, but in soothing frayed nerves too.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, for example, many people ventured into Singapore's green spaces in search of the respite and reprieve that nature can provide.

Now, the National Parks Board (NParks) plans to help Singaporeans better embrace nature's positive effects by establishing 30 therapeutic gardens across Singapore by 2030.

NParks had earlier collaborated with the National University Health System on two research studies to investigate the benefits of therapeutic horticulture on the mental well-being and cognitive functioning of the elderly.

The first study, which focused on healthy seniors, showed there was an improvement in the psychological status, biological markers and immune cell composition of the participants.

The second study, carried out on the elderly from senior care centres, showed that participants maintained healthy sleep patterns and psychological health, and had significant reduction in anxiety and improvement in cognitive functioning.

The positive effects that nature can provide to the mental well-being of both adults and children are highlighted in the fifth episode of Our Better Nature, a sustainability video series by The Straits Times, which airs on Tuesday.

The six-part series, hosted by environment correspondent Audrey Tan, is screened on ST's website and social media channels.

Each episode is between six and eight minutes long, and will be aired every fortnight.

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