Recent NHS studies show very high numbers of people in need of mental health treatment and support. This imposes heavy demands on NHS services.
Mental health gardening has a significant role to play in support of the NHS. It helps people progress after clinical therapies, reduces reoccurrence and prevents low mental wellbeing descending into problems requiring NHS intervention.
In the East Midlands more than 1 in 4 adults are experiencing a common mental disorder [Health Survey for England, 2014, NHS, December 16, 2015]. For every four people among our friends and family, one of them has a life blighted by mental health problems.
There are around 240 new referrals for depression and anxiety per month in Bassetlaw. This figure is new referrals per month for England adjusted to the population of Bassetlaw [Improving Access to Psychological Therapies Report, May 2016 Final, NHS, August 23, 2016] [Office for National Statistics].
These problems aren't usually obvious, they include phobia, panic attacks, post-traumatic stress, generalised anxiety disorder, depression and obsessive compulsive disorder. They all make lives miserable.
We usually hide our problems and carry on as best we can, so all these figures underestimate the number of people suffering. A third of those with depression and half of those with anxiety disorders remain undiagnosed and untreated [Paying the Price: The cost of mental health care in England to 2026, The King's Fund, 2008].
Gardening is particularly effective for common mental disorders, with significant reductions in symptoms of depression and anxiety, enhanced emotional wellbeing and improved social functioning [Gardens and health. Implications for policy and practice, The King’s Fund, David Buck 2016].
48.5% of patients completing NHS treatments for depression and anxiety moved to recovery, 51.5% did not [Improving Access to Psychological Therapies Report, May 2016, NHS, 2016].
Gardening can be used in combination with clinical therapies to support recovery and prevent re-occurrence.