Gardening promotes recovery
For the past ten years, the Sunshine Garden program has encouraged CAMH clients with an interest in gardening to participate in planning, planting, watering and weeding the green space at the south end of the CAMH Queen Street campus. A partnership between CAMH and FoodShare, the program uses horticulture as a way to provide clients with transferable skills, like teamwork and entrepreneurship.
There are also therapeutic benefits to working in the garden. Many of the participants say that it helps to build self-confidence and restores a sense of hope and purpose to their day–to-day lives. Horticultural therapy is a formal practice that uses plants, horticultural activities, and the garden landscape to promote recovery and well-being. It also assists in recovery by reducing stress and anxiety while promoting a sense of accomplishment and improving self-esteem.
“We have over 30 clients a year who come and volunteer in the garden both in the summer and in the winter,” says Liz Kirk, Sunshine Garden Coordinator.