A Growth Mindset! – Gardening for Health
The therapeutic benefits of gardening are to be highlighted as part of the Perth and Kinross Mental Health and Wellbeing Festival.
The free festival, which will take place at Perth Concert Hall on Saturday 6 and Sunday 7 August 2022, follows its online debut last year. Working alongside various local partners, local charity Trauma Healing Together is creating a packed programme of talks, activities and workshops aimed at removing the stigma of mental health and encouraging wellbeing.
PKAVS Mental Health and Wellbeing Hub, which provides support and opportunities for people recovering from mental health and wellbeing issues, will offer two workshops during the festival.
On Saturday 6 August, the team will highlight the therapeutic benefits of gardening and nature alongside a gardening workshop on planting and growing. Meanwhile, on Sunday 7 August, the team will showcase a film created by local service-users in 2021.
‘Speak Over Stigma’ challenged a range of clients to plan, script and create their own two-minute story, documenting their mental health journey through music, creative writing, arts or performance. Participants were filmed showcasing everything from drawings and paintings to a scrapbook and puppet show, highlighting their perspectives and experiences.
Based at the Walled Garden in Perth and Wisecraft in Blairgowrie, PKAVS Mental Health and Wellbeing Hub accepts self-referrals and referrals from health, social and educational organisations.
Laura Mutch, Recovery and Development Officer (Youth Services) said, “Everyone who comes to the Walled Garden and Wisecraft is an individual with their own challenges and interests. However, one thing that connects them is wellbeing. It’s central to their recovery journey. Whether they’re older people, teenagers struggling with school, or people struggling with confidence while looking to progress to further education, employment or volunteering, we’re here to support them.
“As well as the beautiful plants and flowers at the Walled Garden, we grow fruit and vegetables which go from the seed to the plate within our café. Our clients gain so much from coming here – not just through our workshops and activities but just enjoying the outdoor space, connecting with others or learning a new creative skill.
“Specifically, taking part in gardening generates real benefits for our clients – it’s sociable yet relaxing and has a positive effect on their outlook. The physical aspect is also good – getting stuck into something for even a short while can help with stress and anxiety while boosting confidence and self-esteem when they achieve something. Caring for something and nurturing it can also help clients care more about themselves. The difference it can make is quite remarkable.”
One of the clients to benefit from the Walled Garden is Fiona Murphy from Bridge of Earn, who suffers from severe anxiety and severe depression. Fiona was referred to PKAVS during lockdown, giving her partner and full-time carer some respite while she visits the Walled Garden for creative wellbeing and café sessions once a week.
Fiona said, “The Walled Garden gives some structure to my week, a reason to get up and get going with the day. When you walk in, it’s like a safe haven. The walls around it feel like protective arms hugging me and keeping me safe. I instantly relax when I go in and the staff are so friendly and supportive.
“When you’re struggling, you don’t need a constant reminder of that. For me, it’s about having a change of scenery, pushing myself and keeping busy. However, I’ve also made good friends here and there are people to talk to if you feel particularly low.
“The gardens are just beautiful, especially in the better weather. You don’t have to be an expert – it’s just about being outside, getting stuck into a task or sitting out at lunchtime, taking a stroll and learning about the different plants and flowers. Because I’m quite a creative person, we sometimes go out and draw flowers or do some creative writing within the outdoor space. Also, most of the fruit and vegetables grown are used in the kitchen to sell in the café, so it’s lovely learning about them. For my partner, he gets a day to himself without worrying if I’m ok. I love my visits and, when I’m in a better place, I’d like to volunteer there and, longer-term, maybe work in mental health.”
As well as offering a vibrant programme of creative wellbeing activities including crafts, music, creative writing and drama, PKAVS Mental Health and Wellbeing Hub supports clients with everything from nutrition and physical wellbeing to sleep. The Walled Garden also has a café on-site, and Wisecraft houses a joinery workshop where clients make everything from benches, bird tables and planters, which are then sold to the public, or commissioned.
For more information about Perth and Kinross Mental Health and Wellbeing Festival, visit https://www.traumahealingtogether.org/mental-health-festival-2022
For more information about The Walled Garden and Wisecraft, visit www.pkavs.org.uk/mental-health-wellbeing/