Gardening as a Therapeutic Intervention Essay example
11 November, 2008
Page, M. (2008) Gardening as a therapeutic intervention in mental health. Nursing Times; 104: 45, 28–30
This article describes why one low-secure unit chose to initiate a horticultural therapy project and organize it as a ‘workers’ cooperative’. The therapeutic benefits of gardening are explored, particularly focusing on the social benefits. The article also discusses the issue of hope, which is an intrinsic requirement in gardening.
Mathew Page, MSc, DipHE Nursing Studies, Dip Integrated Approaches to Serious Mental Illness, RN, is business development and governance manager, 2gether NHS Foundation Trust, Gloucester.
A number of …show more content…
Service users come from a variety of different backgrounds but all have a diagnosis of serious mental illness, which is often associated with a number of other issues such as substance misuse and criminality. They come from three distinct routes: new long-stay patients; prison transfers; and patients coming from medium-secure units.
In spring 2007 the unit leadership obtained permission to begin using a former garden within the hospital, only a few hundred yards from the unit. The low-secure unit is part of a larger psychiatric hospital. Despite being overrun with brambles, the garden had two commercial quality greenhouses, a polytunnel and running water. Patients and staff worked hard to clear areas of the large site ready to start using it.
We secured the services of a volunteer with years of expertise as a professional gardener and nurseryman. Within a month, the first seeds were sown and bedding plant plugs were picked out ready for sale.
The garden has two areas of activity. The vegetable area aims to produce as much food as possible to eat at the unit during various cooking groups, and the flowers and plants area aims to maximize revenue by