This review provides time-dose and activity-type evidence for programs looking to use time in nature as a preventative measure for stress and mental health strain and also demonstrates opportunities in six specific foci for more research in this area.
College and university students exhibit high levels of stress, anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues. While counseling, medications and, in more severe cases, hospitalization is all appropriate treatments for such conditions, an increasing body of evidence has demonstrated that spending time in nature can provide tangible benefits for mental health and well-being. The aim of this study was to define a “dose” of time in nature that could be prescribed to college-age students, as a preventative and supportive mental health and well-being intervention. The specific objectives of this scoping review were thus: to define the minimum amount of time in nature that results in positive impact on mental health and well-being for college-aged students; to describe the types of engagement with nature that elicited the impact, and to describe and explore the most commonly used measure of effect pre- and post-time in nature.