What We Can Learn From RHS Chelsea 2018
In 2016, Natural England commissioned the University of Essex and mental health charity Mind to conduct a review of nature-based interventions for mental health care.
The report listed a multitude of benefits for those taking part in green care activities, including a reduction in depression, anxiety, and stress symptoms. From this, Alan Law, Natural England’s Chief Strategy and Reform Officer, said ‘There is now compelling evidence to show that contact with nature and the outdoors improves physical health and mental wellbeing.’
Listed in the report are 3 main green care interventions:
- Care farming
- Environmental conservation
- Social and therapeutic horticulture
A great example of how horticulture can help can be seen at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show, and designer Matt Keightley’s ‘RHS Feel Good Garden’. Having won the RHS/BBC People’s Choice Award twice, this year Matt has focused on ‘feeling happier through green spaces’.
The garden has been designed to offer ‘a contemporary, therapeutic space in which to relax, while allowing the visitor to reap the positive benefits of being in a garden,’ and works in collaboration with the NHS as part of the organisation’s 70th birthday celebrations. The garden is even being relocated to the Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust after the show, so patients and staff members can relax in a greener environment.
For Dr William Bird MBE, a GP and creator of Green Gyms, the benefits of connecting to nature as opposed to seeking drug cures is a step in the right direction. Opening the garden, rapper Professor Green has experienced the benefits of horticulture first hand, saying, “I know only too well how hard and hopeless it can feel when you suffer from anxiety and depression. I love my own garden and the more time people spend close to nature, away from phones and general pressure of life the better we’ll all feel.”
Helping mental health in our own way
Here at Brandchange, we are always looking for ways to improve the well-being of our team, and there is a lot to learn from Matt’s ideas at the flower show this year.
Mental Health Foundation, a British charity, have examined mental health in the workplace, stating that ‘there is strong evidence that workplaces with high levels of mental wellbeing are more productive.’ More and more employers are taking heed of this advice, introducing things like lunchtime yoga sessions, and ‘duvet days’. The issue of mental wellbeing is finally being taken seriously.
We’ve all experienced the routine of sitting at a desk 9-5, Monday to Friday, and this monotony can really kill both productivity and creativity. Our offices here at Brandchange are surrounded by Welsh countryside, and so there really is no excuse not to get out and connect with nature.
From moving meetings outdoors to our weekly ‘Healthy Vegan Lunch’, we’re always trying to implement new ways to connect with nature and nurture the mind.
More information on the important link between horticulture and mental wellbeing can be found at Thrive – a charity which uses gardening as therapy for people with physical and mental health issues.