At Seed of Hope we ensure everything we do uses the elements intrinsic to gardening to ensure the best outcomes for those who particpate.
These elements include-
- Being outdoors, with increased light levels, and closer to nature.
- Being physically active.
- Working as part of a team to a common goal.
- Nurturing plants.
- Growing and eating seasonal produce.
Research consistently shows the outcomes that can be expected from a programme of Social and Therapeutic Horticulture.A recent research paper outlining the findings of a meta analysis of ten published papers on the benefits of gardening as a mental health intervention. Highlighted the following as outcomes that one could reliably expect when using gardening as a therapeutic intervention.
- Reduced symptoms of Depression and Anxiety.
- Reduction in stress.
- Increased social engagement.
- Better attentional capacity.
- Reduction in brooding.
- Improved concentration.
- Increased self esteem.
Anecdotally, our experience shows that gardening as a therapeutic intervention can also help those with severe and enduring mental health difficulties such as Schizophrenia and Bi-Polar disorder. As well as the outcomes above, the following have often been observed as outcomes for participants.
- Improved motivation.
- Increased physical activity.
- Raised aspirations.
- Reduced social isolation.
- A sense of hope.
Thrive, the national charity for Social and Therapeutic horticulture, describe the outcomes in this way-
- Better physical health through exercise and learning how to use or strengthen muscles to improve mobility
- Improved mental health through a sense of purpose and achievement
- The opportunity to connect with others – reducing feelings of isolation or exclusion
- Acquiring new skills to improve the chances of finding employment
- Just feeling better for being outside, in touch with nature and in the ‘great outdoors’
The diagram (below) shows the many benefits of social and therapeutic horticulture with overall health and wellbeing at the centre.
To see more research-
The Journey of Recovery and Empowerment Embraced by Nature — Clients’ Perspectives on Nature-Based Rehabilitation in Relation to the Role of the Natural Environment- Anna María Pálsdóttir,Dennis Persson, Birgitta Persson and Patrik Grahn