Mental Health Awareness Week - The Power of Plants with Mayfield Nurseries
This year Mental Health Awareness Week falls on 10 – 16 May and has a focus on Nature and how being nearer the great outdoors and all its wonders, can help improve our Mental Health.
Over the past year, most of us will be becoming accustomed to spending more time outdoors, enjoying walks and of course our own green spaces, but can gardening and the simple acts of pruning, planting, and growing be good for us? We find out with the help of one of our partners, Solent MIND, who run the Mayfield Nurseries in Mayfield Park, Southampton, which helps support people on the South coast with mental health issues through the act of horticulture.
As well as a working nursery, Mayfield is a social enterprise, open to the public for the sale of plants and sundries. All the money made in the tills is put straight back into the organisation helping them to support more people. This arm of Solent MIND charity supports people with mental health problems and other needs to gain confidence, social skills, practical skills and increase self-esteem, all through structured work and training in a friendly environment. The charity also runs workshops and horticultural group activities for people with Dementia.
Dan Angus, Head of Social Enterprise at Mayfield Nurseries, says their are huge benefits of gardening and it can have a real impact on the way you feel.
“We are all spending more time at home and dealing with difficult changes to everyday life. Here at Mayfield Nurseries we are aware of just how much of a positive impact gardening can have on our mental health and wellbeing and want to encourage more of you to discover your green fingers! Gardening provides routine, sense of purpose and accomplishment as you watch your plants grow, especially if you get to reap the rewards of freshly grown fruit or vegetables.
“The physical act of gardening triggers serotonin and other endorphins to be released in the body. Serotonin is our natural feel-good hormone, which promotes mental wellbeing. Working with plants gives us an opportunity to nurture and care for a living thing, which has enormous psychological benefits.”
Ever heard of the expression "shinrin-yoku"? The Japanese phrase translates as "forest bathing," which encompasses the feeling of being immersed in green. The Woodland Trust has given the movement it’s backing and have said that "shinrin-yoku" gives people the opportunity to take time out, slow down and connect with nature. A chemical released by trees and plants, called phytoncides, has also been found to boost the immune system.
“Working in the garden can also build up your muscle strength, increase stamina, improve balance, mobility and ultimately, confidence. Being outdoors can also help you sleep better and boosts your mood!”
Want to find out more or get involved? Visit Mayfields Nurseries