Recovering mental health across outdoor places in Richmond, London: Tuning, skill and narrative

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Abstract

Both scientific and popular discourses assume that the environment can exert an influence on human health. Drawing on anthropological research conducted alongside mental health activists in the United Kingdom, I discuss how people affected by mental health problems sought to recover by visiting outdoor places in the London Borough of Richmond. Their intentional movement and stillness in the world involved tuning and narrative orientation, which, over time, became skilled. Recovery from mental ill-health was not an outcome of merely being in a particular place, but rather emerged as an ongoing process of relearning how to live in and as part of the environment.

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