The 'therapeutic' benefits of gardening

AGE FOTOSTOCK

Gardening is beneficial for maintaining mental health, researchers have asserted.

Academics from the University of Essex followed over 50 people with mental health issues as they worked on therapeutic community gardens run by the charity Trust Links between 2019 to 2022.

Accordingly, they found that those who sowed, planted and tended to vegetables and flowers reported that their life satisfaction and mental wellbeing increased by nine per cent.

"The pandemic drew this clearly into focus and showed that even as we coped with unprecedented disruption and upheaval community gardening has the power to help some of society's most vulnerable people," said Dr Carly Wood. "I'm hoping this study will show the power of therapeutic community gardening and inspire more research into its benefits."

Despite the majority being regular attendees to the charity's gardens, the research showed loneliness decreased.

In light of the findings, Dr Wood is hoping to see more investment and research into therapeutic gardening.

"There is growing evidence to support the use of nature-based interventions for the treatment of mental ill-health and great potential to upscale the use of therapeutic community gardening," she added.

Full study results have been published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.