Hopefully most of our patients have seen the community garden at the side of the practice; it was previously an unused area with regular flows of fly tipping. Now it has flowers, herbs, fruit trees and vegetables all growing there and an abundance of wildlife. Minus all the health benefits to those who have been involved in creating it, I’m sure we can all agree the garden is visually an improvement if nothing else.
Sadly we have recently had negative comments following text messages sent regarding our gardening events; apparently some patients feel that resources given to the garden are not beneficial (although please be assured that any resources/man hours provided by staff have been given voluntarily outside their working hours) While we can admit that the garden may not directly benefit all patients, what it does do is offer a form of social prescribing, which research has proved has many benefits for participants; as a number of our patients have been directly involved it may even have freed up additional GP appointments. Nonetheless we feel all patients benefit in some way.
As a practice we have little control over the increase in patient demand; the decrease in central funding to vital services; and the lack of available GP’s. Therefore as a practice we try to at least make small changes and if we only improve one person’s health and well-being then we feel that is one positive change we can make. That is why The Hive is looking at alternative ways to make a difference and both the gardening and running clubs have been a success.
Social therapeutic horticulture how does it benefit?
- It is increasingly recognised, by individuals and health professionals alike, that gardening and food growing is good for our health and well-being.
- It helps to improve mental health and well-being
- It can decrease social isolation and loneliness
- It increases physical actively
- It helps to foster a sense of community
- It gives people the opportunity to learn and share knowledge on gardening and cooking.
- It prompts greener living, wildlife and supports pollinators
Did you know… 1 in 4 adults will experience mental health issues at some point in their lives (MIND) and prescriptions for anti-depressants have risen (NHS Expo 2018). A survey of 1000 GP’s have said that 40% of their appointments now involve mental health concerns (MIND) and 75% of GP’s have said that they see 1 to 5 lonely people a day (DDCMS 2018). More than half of those patients with mental health problems or social isolation are usually frequent attenders at the GP practice and are 4 times as likely to see their GP.
Physical activity in any form is a great way to keep you physically healthy as well as improving your mental well-being. Research shows that doing exercise influences the release and uptake of feel-good chemicals called endorphins in the brain. Even a short burst of 10 minutes brisk walking increases our mental alertness, energy and positive mood.
Good nutrition is a crucial factor in influencing the way we feel. A healthy balanced diet is one that includes healthy amounts of proteins, essential fats, complex carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and water. The food we eat can influence the development, management and prevention of numerous physical and mental conditions.
Therefore the garden acts as a healing centre; it encourages physical activity which is inclusive for different abilities, and it promotes good nutrition and decreases loneliness.
We as a practice have had great feedback from patients involved in the garden and many have felt positive benefits to their health and well-being. We therefore hope that you can attend future gardening events.
More information will be sent out soon regarding our running club The Hive Flyers