With World Mental Health day falling on 10th of October, it’s a good time to trumpet the long perceived benefits of gardening as a great way to improve mental health. Nothing can quite match the feeling of wellbeing whilst out and about in the great outdoors – a trot to the plot to give it a vigorous digging will work wonders on stress levels, and nothing quite beats the therapeutic pleasure of pulling out a juicy weed*
Garden goliath Bakker Spalding have recently conducted a poll amongst it’s customers, and found that 88% of people cite ‘mental wellbeing’ as the key benefit for spending time in a garden. The second most popular response was that people generally ‘feel fitter’ when gardening, and that ‘increased mobility’ and ’strength’ came in joint third place.
Kathryn Rossiter, CEO of Thrive, the UK’s leading charity in the field of disability and gardening, commented on the research, “This comes as no surprise to us at Thrive. Ask any gardener why they enjoy gardening and time and time again they will say it makes them feel good. As well as the strong therapeutic value of gardening it can help people connect with others, reducing feelings of isolation. It makes us more active, gaining both physical and mental health benefits. We learn new things, and develop skills which can then lead to an increase in confidence and boost people’s self esteem.”
“Because strong social support is important for people with mental ill health, gardening with organisations like Thrive and being supported by our horticultural therapists is shown to be a cost effective and proven therapy.” Elaine Kennedy-Thompson, a long-standing customer of Bakker Spalding, also commented, “I’ve been gardening for over 40 years, and used to help my grandad on his allotment many moons ago! As well as living with Fibromyalgia, central nervous system damage and arthritis, I often suffer with depression and find that my garden provides a much needed boost – particularly in the summer. I give myself small things to do in the garden each year – things that I enjoy so that I stay interested – and gardening gives my self-esteem a significant boost. Little and often is the key!” Adrian Nind, Managing Director, Bakker Spalding Garden Company, said, “According to the Mental Health Foundation, about a quarter of the UK population will experience some kind of mental health problem in the course of a year, and gardening really can help. Elaine is a great example of how gardening can help with illnesses such as depression. A number of customers said that even just spending a short while in the garden before work can help de-stress before the day begins – it’s great to hear that our customers are enjoying their gardens and are seeing distinct health benefits as a result of spending time in them.”
If you’d like to find more about what Thrive have to offer, to get involved or to donate to this inspiring charity, visit their website here.
*There are many therapeutic pleasures to be had on our allotment.