A leading timber buildings specialist is calling for people to spend more time outdoors as a way to improve their mental health and overall wellbeing.

Scotts of Thrapston made the announcement as more people across the UK are diagnosed with mental ill-health issues. It is claimed that one in four people every year develop anxiety, depression or other related conditions. There is also a growing number of research studies, which gives evidence that a connection with nature makes us healthier and happier.

Chris Granger is helped considerably by spending time outdoors. She was diagnosed with ME at the age of 51 and has suffered with bouts of depression. Chris has recently become involved with Action for Rural Sussex and her local GP Surgery in an attempt to help promote outdoor activities for health and wellbeing benefits.

She said: “My garden is my happy place. With adaptations such as raised vegetable beds making it possible for me to sit and garden, my physical (and consequently mental) health has slowly got back on track. Although for some time I was unable to do any of the heavier gardening jobs, simply being outside for a dose of Vitamin D and fresh air whilst sowing trays of seeds, helped me start to feel better.

“I also find peace and take rest in my summerhouse where I practice Mindfulness Meditation and it is the combination of all these things that keep me happy and far healthier these days.”

Chris is currently working with children with special needs using garden therapy for their emotional welfare and learning as well as setting up a sensory garden.

Kathryn Morris, from the Scotts of Thrapston summerhouse sales team, said: “Chris’ story shows you how spending time outside can improve your outlook, in addition to providing physical benefits.

“With more and more people working longer hours, our time for relaxation and leisure activities has rapidly decreased. Our summerhouses let in plenty of natural light, which is known to reduce depression and anxiety levels. The buildings can also be used as a yoga room, gym or a place to meditate. It offers the perfect retreat that is on your doorstep and provides an opportunity to unwind and give the brain a break, all year round.”

As more people look to spend time outdoors they want to extend their outdoor living space. In response to the demand, Scotts of Thrapston has released a range of larger summerhouses based on their existing designs including a 3.6m Burghley summerhouse, a 3m Newhaven summerhouse and a 3.9m Sun Ray Garden Room.