In 2016, Isabel Hardman's mind, in her own words, 'stopped working' as she fell prey to severe depression and anxiety. She took time off on long-term sick leave and despite several relapses has returned to work with a much improved ability to cope. She has since become one of the UK's most prominent public voices on mental health.
She credits her better health to her passion for exercise, nature and the great outdoors – from horse-riding and botany to cold-water swimming and running. In The Natural Health Service, she draws on her own personal experience, interviews with mental illness sufferers and psychologists, and the latest research to examine what role wildlife and exercise can play in helping anyone cope with mental illness. Straight-talking, thoroughly-researched, and compassionate, this important and often funny book will fascinate anyone touched by a mental health condition, whether themselves or through the experiences of a loved-one.
Isabel Hardman is the Assistant Editor of the Spectator and also presents Radio 4's Week in Westminster. In 2015 she was named the youngest ever Political Journalist of the Year by the Political Studies Association. She appears regularly on TV and radio, including Have I Got News for You, The Andrew Marr Show, The News Quiz, Today programme, Question Time and Sky News. She also writes columns for The Times, The Guardian, The Sun, The Observer, Evening Standard, and the Daily Telegraph.
"Brilliant, clear-eyed and convincing."
– Matt Haig
"A wise, compassionate, timely and beautifully written book. Isabel is formidably brave and open about her health struggles."
– Andrew Marr
"A remarkable, fact-packed, warm and important book. If you're after an honest, no-bullshit, un-woowoo blueprint about how to improve your mental health through engaging with the natural world, this is for you."
– India Knight
"A really uplifting book. Amid the vivid depictions of depression and PTSD there is a joy in these pages as Isabel explains what the natural world has given to her, and can give to all of us. Hardman shows there is so much we can do to help ourselves just by looking at the world around us, exploring and enjoying its beauty, variety, life-giving, life-enhancing, mood-changing power."
– Alastair Campbell
"Brave and thoroughly researched."
– Bella Mackie, author of Jog On
"Extraordinary. I wish everyone with a mental illness, and all those supporting them, would read this book. I believe it could help to revolutionise the way we think about, and even treat, mental health issues."
– Jonny Benjamin MBE
"Absorbing and life-affirming [...] Isabel's journey of discovery through her own mental illness contains lessons for us all. Simply a must read."
– Rachel Cullen, author of Running For My Life