Mental Health Awareness Week: SAMH projects in Fife go back to nature

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The Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH) is re-opening its horticultural services, which use gardening as a therapeutic means of mental health recovery in time for this years Mental Health Awareness week.

SAMH has been providing therapeutic horticulture services for mental health recovery for over 30 years, with sites in Fife at Evergreen in Kirkcaldy, and Growing Auchmuty in Glenrothes.

SAMH Evergreen has been located at The Allotments, Barnet Crescent in Kirkcaldy since 2001 after outgrowing its former base at Forth Park Hospital.

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Service users at Evergreen tend to a variety of different gardens to help with mental health issues, with many of the plants and flowers grown being used for Kinghorn in Bloom’s hanging baskets.

A SAMH service user.A SAMH service user.
A SAMH service user.

Sessions at The Allotments are held weekly every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday.

Throughout the week, which runs from May 10-16, SAMH will be sharing tips on how improve your wellbeing by connecting with nature.

David Ross, senior horticulture practitioner at Evergreen, said: “When people come to our services they’re out in a garden, they’re out in an open space, you can see plants growing and that gives people hope.

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“That’s the thing about gardening and horticulture, you’ve got to be optimistic, you sow seeds hoping they’ll grow and that can’t be underestimated.

“It broadens people’s horizons, and that can be a huge step for someone who have maybe gone through their life with their head down.”

Alex Cumming, assistant director of delivery and development, SAMH said: “Over lockdown most of us have, unfortunately, had to spend more time indoors, so as restrictions ease, we’re really pleased to be able to help people to reconnect with nature and boost their wellbeing.

“We all know that being outdoors and in nature provides multiple benefits, but the pandemic has really renewed our appreciation of this. Through gardening, individuals we work with can have free flowing conversations while learning new skills.

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“Over the summer months we’re looking at how we can bring more people together to make use of our therapeutic horticulture services, as well as looking at how these services can benefit their local communities, for example by providing ‘plot to plate’ organic and healthy food for all.”

If you would like more information, or would like to attend Evergreen, email: [email protected]

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