A GP surgery in Manchester has launched a radical new scheme to treat depression. Following overwhelming evidence, doctors are prescribing plant care and community gardening.
Instead of - or in conjunction with - antidepressants Cornbrook Medical Practice is handing out plants and herbs to sufferers of depression, anxiety and loneliness.
The patient is told to take the plant home and help it recuperate. Once the plant is strong enough, the patient returns their charge to a community garden outside the practice and is encouraged to help develop the site.
Combining ecotherapy and ‘social prescribing,’ as health secretary Matt Hancock has famously advocated, the scheme hopes people will form nurturing relationships with both plants and people.
‘Having something to care for brings so many benefits,’ says medical secretary Augusta Ward, ‘especially for those who may not have a garden or be able to have pets.’
The idea that plant-care can unleash the same psychological response as looking after pets (or even people) is one of Bloombox Club’s core principles and it’s great to hear that the NHS is realising this too.
In the face of overwhelming evidence, the idea that nature is a valid mental treatment is becoming more and more mainstream, with practices including forest bathing, mindful gardening and active plant care gaining traction as forms of ecotherapy.
For more about the benefits of plant care on mental health, click here.