Seeds of change
Posted Monday 24 August 2009
Ecotherapy - the latest buzz word in mental health circles. Getting out and about, to you and me. Green exercise, improving your well being by joining a walking or gardening group, or pulling shopping trolleys out the canal or flying a kite - all that kind of stuff.
Sounds simple enough, but it's an idea whose time has come. Mind knew that already of course. Local Mind groups have been running green projects for years, because we've known that getting outside and a bit active can do wonders for your mental health. But this is different. These days people know about conservation, renewable energy, global warming, carbon footprints and climate change.
When we launched the Ecominds funding scheme interest was slow but my goodness - how that changed. The scheme is now over subscribed thanks to a massive level of public interest. Ecominds - is Ecotherapy in action, an idea whose time has come.
Every Ecominds project is designed to improve the wellbeing of people with direct experience of mental distress. Sadly Mind can't fund every bid we get - there isn't enough money - but we are seeing some great, innovative projects designed for communities across England. We've even got a proposal to set up a sustainable Eco burials programme - a recycling angle which is definitely a Mind first.
The projects are all inspirational in their own way, but one thing they have in common is that every single one brings people coping with mental health problems into a community environmental setting, helping chip away at the stigma and prejudice that often surrounds mental health issues.
Ten months since Ecominds launched, the first success stories are arriving. First away is a fantastic garden built to seriously professional standards at the RHS Tatton Park Flower Show in July. It bagged a Silver Medal with a Gold missed by the slimmest of margins.
Barry Watts, Grants Manager
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