Tree of Life
Guests of various Ecominds events are invited to leave comments on a native English Rowan tree, our Tree of Life. We will take this tree with us to all of the Ecominds events to chart the change in peoples perceptions in regards to mental health and the environment over the five years of the scheme.
Here are some comments put on the Tree of Life at the Mind Well Being Conference in Novemer 2009:
• Spending time outdoors really helps me relax and clear my mind. Even in the darkest days of depression if I can get outside to some green grass I feel I can carry on.
• Déjà vu. Time to remember what we were born to do…create.
• We must re-establish our relationship with the soil in this post peak oil time. Well being comes through sustainability and equality, not consumption and exploitation.
• Life is beautiful. We just have to take the time to look for it.
• Walking with my dog in the Welsh mountains really invigorates me when I am really feeling down. Rock on Mind!
• The environment can play a huge part in gaining and retaining wellbeing – whether a plant in a pot, trees in all seasons, a guerrilla garden verge, a park, the sea, handling soil etc. Farming veg and flowers and fruit can bring a vase sense of purpose to life.
Here are comments left by guests at the Ecominds first annual networking event on 18 November 2009:
• Everyone should make a New Year resolution – do something green in 2010
• Peace and quiet of green spaces can create peace and quiet of mind. Creating that green space gives self esteem a lift.
• Love gardens
• Working together to improve green spaces benefits the mental health of everyone in the community.
• This lovely lake and setting can only benefit our mental well being.
• When you lose contact with your world you lose contact with everything.
• It’s nice to see people coming together, in nature, for one common purpose.
• Walking and gardening is good natural stuff.
• Tai chi is like a tree.
• We all need space, including green space.
• An individual who experiences mental health issues started doing voluntary work at ‘Wildwood’, has benefited greatly and is moving on towards recovery, gaining confidence and motivation.
• Green spaces bring piece of mind in 2010.
• The growth of your mind can be directly helped by growing in your life garden.
The following ‘leaves’ were placed on the tree by the guys at BTCV as the top ‘leaves’ they took off their own tree of life at their launch event in November:
• We come as individuals but we become part of something bigger.
• I was a very angry, lonely person and did not fit easily with other people. Because of the gardening group I can now count amongst my friends people from all over the world and from all sides of the religious spectrum. This has helped me see Lincoln Green as the place I want to call home.
• I was unemployed, was not doing much, didn’t know what to do. Then I found Hollybush. Became a VO, and started helping out more with friends of Hollybush. It’s given me so much experience.
Here are the comments visitors left on the tree at the Ecominds launch event on 18 September 2008:
- It feels good to breathe fresh air, even in London.
- I hope the project will inspire others to connect with the environment.
- Man is out of nature. Nature preserves life. So man must preserve nature to preserve his live. Preserving nature promotes healthy minds.
- To lift your sad moods, take a walk in the woods.
- I hope this garden will grow and spread throughout London.
- Changes in the weather of our minds....
- Being outside is not as bad after all!
- Breathing in, taking in the world around me and working with others - perfect.
- Getting out into the environment and enjoying green space can be really inspiring and stimulating - and a great way to support and encourage people with mental health issues.
- Let's give everyone better mental health through Ecominds.
- The outdoors and trees in particular never fail to inspire a sense of wellbeing. Ecominds will contribute to this.
- Fresh air, wildlife and the natural environment are essential to mental wellbeing. This should be accessible to all wherever you live.
- Green spaces take me away from my problems.
- There's nothing better than a walk in the fresh air to clear your mind.
- Being outside makes me happy.
- Running by the river gives me headspace, keeps me sane. Better environments are better for everyone's mental health. When I need or want to relax, I want to in a relaxing, peaceful, attractive environment. Ecominds will help people have a better mental health by projects that will improve mental health and physical wellbeing, create social activities and make environments better for others mental health.
- I believe that with every building we build, a plant should be planted.
- Green spaces make me feel relaxed and happy. Ecominds is great because it will give more people the chance to feel the same way.
- Getting back to nature allows us to get back to ourselves.
- Nature - a last refuge when everything gets too much.
- Community is important for mental health - feeling connected to people around you, you can connect by getting involved in Ecominds projects and help the environment.
- I'm sure that Ecominds will help MHSUs and other members of society enjoy, embrace and connect with nature, leading to better mental health for all.
- Green exercise is self medication that you can't overdose from.
- There's a quote attributed to Einstein which goes, "...if the bees disappear, man has less than four years". He may not have said it and it maybe it's not 100% true. But it highlights the fragility of the environment. It's time everyone recognised that.