Gardening is great for mental health

Anyone who looks after their own garden or allotment could have told us that, but now significant research shows that gardening is one of the best ‘green care’ therapies for supporting and improving mental health and can benefit everyone and all ages.  It is becoming increasingly recognised for its contribution to maintaining wellbeing in older and vulnerable groups.

The numerous benefits from gardening for mental health include a reduction in depression, anxiety, and stress symptoms and increased self-esteem and confidence, social contact and inclusion; as well as a sense of belonging and personal achievement.

The joy of gardening is that it is so adaptable, and some form of gardening will be familiar to people from almost any background.

Read more about the studies and evidence for Gardening as a Green Care therapy

How I can help you You

I design and deliver Garden Therapy programmes particularly suitable for organisations such as retirement and dementia care, hospice day therapy and healthcare providers and charities supporting people with, or at risk of, poor mental health.

Huge benefits can be achieved without the need for a specially designed garden, so you can start straight away.

  • Design and deliver gardening programmes tailored to the needs and abilities of your participants
  • Provide training for staff or volunteers to be able to continue the activities ‘in-house’
  • Advise you how best to take full advantage of your facilities

Next Steps

Every programme is different so if you are interested in how I can help your organisation or community project, please contact me for a discussion.

The greatest participation and the most benefit comes when activities are chosen, tailored and adapted to the needs and abilities of individuals and to deliver specific wellbeing outcomes.  Find out how I have helped other organisations:

What the Evidence Says

The Natural England commissioned Report “A review of nature-based interventions for mental health care” concluded that wellbeing benefits arise from meaningful, nature-based activity in a social context, including:

  • Increased general mental wellbeing
  • Reduction in depression, anxiety and stress related symptoms
  • Improved self-esteem, confidence and mood
  • Improvement in dementia-related symptoms
  • Increased attentional capacity and cognition
  • Improved happiness, satisfaction and quality of life
  • Increased social contact, inclusion and sense of belonging

My Training and Qualifications

When I passed in 2016 the Award in Social and Therapeutic Horticulture (STH) was an Undergraduate Award delivered by The Society for Horticultural Therapy, known as Thrive, and accredited by Coventry University.  I attended a two-day classroom course followed by eight weeks of self-directed study to produce a report to:

  • Describe that way that STH can benefit a specific client group and meet their support needs
  • Design a cohesive horticultural programme for the client group and individuals within it
  • Identify and justify an appropriate assessment method to measure the impact of the programme

For the Award I chose to focus on using STH to benefit people living with mild to moderate depression or anxiety or at risk of deteriorating mental health and social isolation, for example through increasing age or long term unemployment   I designed a  programme to run in a range of locations and not necessarily at a permanent garden designed for the exclusive use of STH.  The aim of this model was to make early intervention STH widely available at low cost within a community setting and this is the way that I now work with organisational clients.

Mental Health First Aid is a two -day course run by the charity Mental First Aid England that I completed in 2015.

The course provides an in depth understanding of mental health and the factors that can affect wellbeing, practical skills to spot the triggers and signs of mental health issues and support a person in distress and the knowledge to help someone recover their health by guiding them to further support.

CPCAB logoThe CPCAB Level 2 Certificate in Counselling Skills provides the underpinning knowledge, skills and competencies to use counselling skills ethically and safely.  It does not qualify me to work as a professional counsellor but enables me to use counselling and enhanced listening skills in my role as a Social & Therapeutic Horticultural practitioner and tutor.  CPCAB (Counselling & Psychotherapy Central Awarding Body) is a UK awarding body that is managed by professional counsellors, trainers and supervisors.