Taking care of our mental wellbeing is incredibly important, especially at the moment in these strange times and as winter approaches. Getting out and about in nature has been shown to have benefits for mental health, and going for walks in my local green spaces has certainly helped me throughout lockdown. By stepping away from our homes, which for many have also now become the office, being immersed in nature can be akin to practising mindfulness. To investigate this, the Canal & River Trust have just launched their largest citizen science project to better understand the wellbeing benefits of being near water.

They have teamed up with King’s College London, J&L Gibbons and Nomad Projects to create the Urban Mind App. Over the course of two weeks participants who download the App will be asked to share how they feel three times a day and their surroundings at the time. These details will be then used to produce a report summarising their experience, all whilst keeping their information completely private. At no point will the App ask for any data that could identify the individual.

The study aims to identify trends and correlations between mood and the environment, with the hope that the findings will support the need to protect our waterways for their health benefits.

The study is currently underway and ends on November 15th. Anyone over the age of 16 can take part by downloading the app for free on Google Play or the App Store.

To take part please download and select the ‘custom’ study option and enter the password ‘water’ when prompted.


Article written by Sian Steel, Canal and River Trust Volunteer