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It’s October right now, so your doctor has prescribed that you step outside and appreciate a cloud. Or maybe you could write a worry onto a stone and throw it into the sea. And then perhaps try to find 10 different species of fungus (hopefully outside your home, not in it). All the above are suggestions from a new ‘Nature Prescriptions’ program being rolled out to GPs in Scotland’s Shetland Islands this week. After a successful pilot at a surgery in Scalloway, all of Shetland’s doctors can now literally prescribe ‘nature’ to their patients as part of their overall treatment strategy. The project, jointly run by NHS Shetland and RSPB Scotland, is thought to be the first of its kind in the UK, and those behind it expect the scheme to improve patients’ blood pressure, reduce their risk of heart disease and strokes, plus give their happiness and mental health a boost . "There is overwhelming evidence that nature has health benefits for body and mind," says RSPB community engagement officer Karen MacKelvie. "So, we saw an opportunity to design a leaflet that helps doctors describe the health benefits of nature and provides plenty of local ideas to help […]

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