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News Release

DuPage Forest Preserve Reminds Public of Benefits of Time in Nature During Mental Health Awareness Month

The Forest Preserve District supports mental health year-round

In recognition of May as Mental Health Awareness Month, the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County reminds people of the mental health benefits of time in nature.

Research suggests that spending time in natural environments, such as DuPage forest preserves, can have profound positive effects on mental well-being. Time spent in green open spaces can reduce stress, alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression, and improve overall psychological resilience. Specifically for individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder, nature exposure has shown promise in reducing symptoms and enhancing coping mechanisms. Additionally, it can improve memory, attention, creativity, and quality of sleep.

In support and recognition of people who may be experiencing a mental health crisis in a forest preserve, each year Forest Preserve District police officers undergo state-mandated training that includes a five-hour course addressing ways to better respond to individuals in various types of crises. Additionally, all sergeants and several officers are certified members of the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board’s Crisis Intervention Team. Participants of this specialized one-week, 40-hour program receive intensive training on assisting individuals who have a mental illness or other behavioral disabilities. To mark Mental Health Awareness Month, the Forest Preserve District’s entire force of 25 officers is wearing badges and pins featuring green ribbons.

In 2023 Forest Preserve District police responded to 17 crisis intervention calls, providing critical support and assistance to individuals in distress.

The Forest Preserve District also participates with agencies such as the DuPage County Health Department; Linden Oaks Behavioral Health; and local cities, park districts, forest preserve districts, and police and fire departments to provide critical assistance to individuals in distress, including posting information about the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. One effort uses data from police and fire department records to identify locations where suicide attempts have occurred and isolated areas where suicide attempts may occur and directs police patrols to these locations.

Year-round, Forest Preserve District police officers enforce federal, state, and county laws as well as the District’s General Use Regulation Ordinance while ensuring the safety of life and property within the preserves. Officers patrol on foot, by bicycle, ATV, and squad car, responding to emergencies, safety concerns, and service calls with the highest principles of the law enforcement profession. 

 The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County improves the quality of life for all DuPage County residents. Its 26,000 acres of woodlands, prairies, wetlands, and waterways contribute to cleaner air and water, help with flood control, create vital habitats for wildlife, and provide safe spaces where people can boost their physical and mental health. More than 5.5 million people visit its 60 forest preserves, 166 miles of trails, seven education centers, and scores of programs each year. For information, call 630-933-7200 or visit, where you can also link to the District’s e-newsletter and Facebook, X, Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok pages. 



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