Horticultural therapy is a professional practice that uses plants and gardening to improve mental and physical health. A horticultural therapist works with any group that can benefit from interaction with plants, including veterans, children, the elderly and those dealing with addiction and mental health problems
The psychiatrists say that many people are opting ‘Green Therapy’ or gardening to fight mental illnesses. Both psychiatrists and patients are accepting gardening, as a therapy to heal mental health-related problems.
A 33-year-old Manav Mehta (name changed) from Pune was working in the automobile sector. Around two months ago he was fired from work. He then suffered from depression and started staying anxious.
He consulted a psychiatrist, and after two sessions of counselling, experts suggested him to undertake gardening.
He said, “After I lost my job, I was unable to focus on anything that I do. I was depressed, but recently, when I have started gardening therapy, I can focus on things that I do daily. Earlier, even while performing my daily activity, it was difficult for me to concentrate. However, since I have started gardening, I have started my preparation for the interviews. Gardening has helped me come out of depression and focus on my interview preparation.”
Even in urban areas, people get a chance to do gardening by planting trees in their balcony. Also, for some people, it is difficult to talk or mingle with people to get out of mental illness.
For such introvert people, gardening comes as the best suitable therapy. These days there is even a trend where entrepreneurs have started gardening workshops in the adjacent areas of the city.
Dr Shrikant Pawar, a psychiatrist from Pune, said, “Nowadays, more and more people are asking if they can resort to gardening to tackle mental health-related problems. For those who cannot talk with people and those who are introvert, gardening acts as the best therapy. Simply viewing a green space from a window can help people relax and reduce stress levels.”
Dr Anant Dhadphale, another psychiatrist from Pune, said, “We recommend the therapy to those who enjoy nature. Many small ventures offer this service with nominal fees.”