Here at the Collaborative, we are passionate about welcoming environments! “Creating Welcoming Parks and Recreation Environments: A Training for Professionals and Volunteers” consists of 7 learning modules focusing on specific strategies to foster parks that are welcoming to everyone, including people with mental health conditions. While this resource targets parks and recreation professionals and volunteers, the information shared is valuable to everyone!

The training is hosted on, allowing you to complete the training modules, save your progress, and engage with others completing the training through the discussion questions. TED-Ed is a platform which allows users to create or complete lessons in an organized, engaging way. Each interactive lesson contains a video, a link to the lesson’s reading, a brief quiz, and discussion questions.

There are two ways that you can access these trainings; by downloading the manual which includes all 7 readings and links to each, lesson, or by completing each individual lesson by following the provided links.

Click here for the full manual: Find all 7 readings in one cohesive document! Links to each TEDEd lesson are included in the beginning of each reading.


Module 1: Introduction
Link to Lesson:

In the first module, you will learn foundational information on the social model of disability
which will support your understanding and completion of the following modules. Learning
objectives for this lesson are:

● Describe the social model of disability and how it differs from the biomedical
● Understand the impact of attitudinal barriers to community engagement
● Identify the 3 diagnoses that are considered “serious mental illnesses”


Module 2: Disability as an Aspect of Diversity
Link to Lesson:

Module 2 builds upon information learned in the introduction module by touching on the
disability rights movement and disability as an aspect of diversity, rather than a problem to be
solved. Learning objectives for Module 2 are:

● Understand diversity from a disability perspective, including individuals with
mental health conditions
● Identify the importance of diverse park users
● Identify the prevalence of mental health conditions


Module 3: Benefits of Parks for Persons with Mental Health Conditions
Link to Lesson:

Module 3 shifts to look at some specific physical and mental health needs that individuals with
mental health conditions commonly experience, and the potential for parks to meet these needs.
Module 3 learning objectives are:

● Increase knowledge of the mental health related benefits of park
● Identify park benefits that are associated with the needs of individuals with
mental health conditions
● Describe the meaning of parks to individuals with serious mental illnesses


Module 4: Avoiding Discriminatory Language
Link to Lesson:

In Module 4 we focus on developing welcoming vocabularies and identify frequent
microaggressions related to mental illness in an effort to deepen awareness of the impact that
language can have on community members. Learning objectives for Module 4 are:
● Identify the four types of mental illness microaggressions
● Understand the importance of using person-first language
● Learn 1-2 training activities to facilitate with staff and volunteers


Module 5: Creating Welcoming Parks
Link to Lesson:

Module 5 focuses on the principles of Universal Design and offers specific strategies to
implement which will foster welcoming and accessible parks for everyone, including people with
mental health conditions. Learning objectives for Module 5 are:

● Learn about Universal Design
● Learn how to create Welcoming Parks


Module 6: Including Diverse Stakeholders in the Planning Process
Link to Lesson:

Module 6 focuses on the importance of including mental health consumers in the parks planning
process and offers action steps that you can take to ensure that everyone in the community is
valued and heard. Learning objectives for this lesson are:

● Understand the importance of including diverse stakeholders in the planning
● Identify 3-5 strategies to include mental health consumers and providers in
park planning


Module 7: Connecting Mental Health Consumers to Parks
Link to Lesson:

In the final lesson, we review different types of mental health service settings and strategies for
parks professionals to connect consumers to parks across settings. Learning objective for Module
7 are:

● Identify 3 different types of mental health service settings
● Understand strategies to include mental health consumers and providers to
parks across service settings
● Describe the unique role of peer support specialists