Green care and mental health: gardening and farming as health and social care

Journal article citation:
Mental Health and Social Inclusion, 14(3), August 2010, pp.15-22.

This article discusses the role that gardening, horticulture and farming can play in promoting mental well-being and in supporting the recovery of individuals with mental health problems. Social and therapeutic horticulture (STH) can be described as a community of vulnerable people working together on horticultural activities in a garden or allotment, with the aim of providing mutual support and benefit to their health and well-being. STH projects provide meaningful occupation in a natural setting and some prepare their clients for eventual paid employment. Importantly, STH projects also provide opportunities for social contact and experience of the natural environment. This connected with nature is considered to be an essential element in STH. The article looks at: the history of STH and horticultural therapy; evidence of its effectiveness; and current services and their funding. It argues that STH is an inexpensive way to treat and care for people with mental health problems, and that there is considerable room for expansion of service provision.

Subject terms:
mental health problems, social inclusion, therapeutic horticulture, therapies, therapy and treatment, gardening, ecotherapy;
United Kingdom
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