The benefits of having contact with nature in improving mental health and wellbeing are well documented. This is achieved in the beyondblue report “Beyond Blue to Green” which notes how parks and green open spaces have a positive effect on mental health, particularly depression and anxiety. Healthy communities, including healthcare settings, benefit from being situated in green landscapes with water, vegetation and other natural features.
Contact with nature can occur at three different levels: viewing nature, being in its presence for example walking, cycling or sitting, and being actively involved in nature for example planting, weeding, and constructing seating and or paths.
The report comprehensively discusses the benefits on many people and aspects of wellbeing including physical health, brain injury, mental illness, ADHD, stress, trauma, and offending behaviours.
An Advisory Group was established in 2009 which aimed to develop and maintain the bushland to provide a healthy space for health service users, staff, visitors and community members to enjoy.
The Advisory Group successfully obtained funding through the NSW Health “Healthy People and Places” Grant in 2016 to construct two new paths through the Bloomfield Bushland to connect the Orange Health Service campus with the neighbouring reserves.
The Bloomfield Bushland is a 13 hectare pocket of remnant eucalypt woodland and grassland located adjacent to the hospital site, between Ronald McDonald House and Bloomfield Road.
Valuing these local green spaces as a resource to improve our mood, physical health and quality of life is a necessity for a healthy town.