The positive impact that parks and green spaces have on people's mental health and wellbeing is being highlighted in Mental Health Awareness Week.

As well as improving air quality and reducing noise pollution, they provide spaces for people to take part in physical activity and interact with nature – which in turn helps to reduce stress and improve mood.

Data shows that 27.6% of residents in Wolverhampton use green spaces for health and physical activity, which is higher than both the West Midlands and the national average. 

Parks and green spaces also support the NHS's Five Ways to Wellbeing by providing opportunities to: connect with families, friends and communities; be active by walking, cycling, running and playing; keep learning about nature, wildlife and local history; give to others by supporting groups and events such as Walking For Health and Parkrun; and be mindful by taking time away from everyday life and enjoying nature.

Free local attractions such as West Park and East Park, Bantock Park in Bradmore and Northycote Farm in Bushbury can help children and families be more active together and improve their wellbeing. At Northycote, for instance, there are opportunities to explore the woodland and wildlife, visit the Tudor farmhouse, and see a range of animals including pigs, sheep, chickens and turkeys. 

John Denley, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Director of Public Health, said: "Good quality, natural landscape in urban areas has wide ranging benefits not just for our physical health but also our mental wellbeing, and we are very lucky in Wolverhampton to have so many quality parks and green spaces for residents to enjoy.

"Evidence shows that people value our parks and open spaces, and they have a great deal of potential in supporting people to improve their health and wellbeing.

"As we mark Mental Health Awareness Week, I would encourage individuals and families to get out and about, enjoy the spring sunshine and improve their physical and mental health."

For more details of the city’s parks, green spaces and nature reserves, please visit Parks, green spaces and nature reserves.

This year’s Mental Health Awareness Week, led by the Mental Health Foundation, runs until Sunday 19 May and is themed around Body Image - how we think and feel about our bodies. For more details, please visit Mental Health Foundation or search for #BeBodyKind on Twitter.