13 Jan 2020

Horticulture as a Therapeutic Method

We Are Like You

Sisters Hospitallers centre in Liberia offers to its patients a new activity since last month, horticulture.

A group of volunteers from Aita Menni Hospital, Spain, led by managing director Mikel Tellaeche, spent some days at Saint Benedict Menni Mental Health Center in Monrovia. One of the tasks they did was to prepare a patch in the compound’s plot to seed veggies, with seeds brought from the Basque Country: courgette, carrot, pumpkin, cucumber,…

The aim is to offer a new therapeutic and occupational activity to our patients, which provides lots of benefits to their rehabilitation. Therapeutic horticulture is used in many countries with patients with mental illness, in Aita Menni Hospital, amongst them. The hospital in Spain has a large plot with a veggie patch and offers its patients the chance to work with a company that grows and sell organic veggies and aromatic plants, in a greenhouse near the hospital.

Psychologist Macarena Aspiunza, leader of this horticulture project and head of Intellectual Disability at Aita Menni Hospital, was one of the volunteers who came to Monrovia, and she numbered the benefits of this therapy:

  • Physically benefits: gardening and caring for the patch helps in the development of motor control skills and coordination of movements, and it’s a demanding physical activity. It helps in adopting a healthy diet and habits.
  • Social benefits: it improves communication between the members of the group, as well and with other people.
  • Emotional benefits: anxiety and stress decreases, as well as troublesome behaviours. Self-esteem improves, the activity generates satisfaction and helps in the handling of frustration and anger. It helps in improving responsible behaviours and improves creativity and curiosity.

Three weeks after the seeding, first shrubs are appearing. We hope to have a wonderful harvest!