The Meaning of Social Support in Nature-Based Services for Young Adults with Mental Health Problems
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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In previous studies, social context and social support have been found to be important in nature-based services. However, no studies have previously focused on the meaning of different dimensions of social support in these contexts. The aim of this study is therefore to uncover dimensions of social support in relation to mental health among young adults with mental health problems participating in nature-based services in Norway. This study applies data from a survey of 93 young adults participating in nature-based services; in addition, qualitative interview data from 20 interviews are also used. The data are analysed using qualitative content analysis, descriptive statistics, and correlation analysis. The results indicate that participants in nature-based services experience emotional, esteem, informational, and instrumental support in addition to social integration and opportunities for nurturance in these services. The service leader, other participants, and the animals are important contributors to these dimensions of social support. Nature-based services may be a helpful intervention for young adults with mental health problems. The unique context of these services, including nature and animals, adds special qualities to mental health and social work practices.