With ongoing pressures on our health and social care systems, now is the time to recognise the powerful contribution the arts can make to our health and wellbeing. Rachel Massey, Arts & Wellbeing Coordinator at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, explains more.
New Vision for Mental Health is a new website that focuses on a central question: "What would our mental healthcare system look like if, knowing what we know today, it was redesigned from scratch?”
It looks to gather and provide answers to this question by taking a critical, informed and constructive look at the current mental health system, the concepts on which it rests and its constituent parts.
It explores ideas, insights and suggestions – from a wide range of individuals and organisations – that might, in time, lay the foundations for a new and quite different approach to mental healthcare.
And the site already references several items related to the theme of landscapes and gardens, including
Thrive is the UK’s leading social & therapeutic horticulture charity.
Social and therapeutic horticulture is the process of using plants and gardens to improve physical and mental health, as well as communication and thinking skills. It also uses the garden as a safe and secure place to develop someone's ability to mix socially, make friends and learn practical skills that will help them to be more independent.
Using gardening tasks and the garden itself, Thrive horticultural therapists build a set of activities for each gardener to improve their particular health needs, and to work on certain goals they want to achieve.
The benefits of a sustained and active interest in gardening include:
• 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'
Our London base is in the beautiful Battersea Park in South London. We maintain four gardens in Battersea Park where we run our therapeutic gardening sessions. Our sessions run from Monday – Friday from 10am – 3pm, structured like a working day. If you or someone you know could benefit from one of our programmes or you would like to know more, please call Lizzie on: 0207 720 2212
In November horticultural therapists from Thrive Birmingham will start a gardening programme for prisoners with mental ill health at HM Prison Hewell.
Funded by *Health in justice, Thrive will work with prisoners with mental health support needs in the prison garden once a week for a year.
Faith Ramsay, garden designer and Chair of Thrive shares her presentation given at the Landscape Show, Battersea Park, September 2017 - How Garden Design and Therapeutic Horticulture can help with Mental Health.
A recent article posted by the Design Council paves a way for cities that promote rather than damage our mental health.
The Lambeth GP Food Co-operative has launched a video (part funded by NHS England) featuring its work and describing its vision.
As Dr Vikesh Sharma, a GP at the Grantham Practice in Stockwell, points out in the co-operative's latest newsletter, despite the project's success, prescribing gardening is still a novel idea to many patients. The challenge for a GP practice is 'to normalise the concept'. 'People come to GP surgeries and expect to be referred down certain pathways and it requires a change of mindset to consider the gardening club a viable option.' As the video demonstrates, this change is already beginning to take place.
Thrive, the charity that uses gardening to change lives, is taking part in a pioneering project which will make gardens and outdoor space at dementia care settings across the UK more accessible, stimulating and to promote meaningful activity.
The little-known medical history of hospital gardens has been the topic for a unique installation at the Chelsea Fringe Festival, 18 May-5 June 2015. ‘Taking a Turn’ has been developed by gardening therapist and garden designer, Rebecca Smith, to explore the mental health history of hospital gardens over more than 200 years.
A stroll in the park could be the best way for urban dwellers to banish negative thoughts. A New York Times blog reports on research at Stanford University into the psychological effects of urban living.
We gather together news and events relating to landscapes, gardens and health. If you wish to contribute news or events please contact us.
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