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Br J Gen Pract. 2012 Feb;62(595):e127-34. doi: 10.3399/bjgp12X625193.

Primary-care based participatory rehabilitation: users' views of a horticultural and arts project.

Author information

  • 1Section of Primary Care Mental Health, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, London. elizabeth.barley@iop.kcl.ac.uk

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Participation in horticulture and arts may improve wellbeing in those with mental and physical illness.

AIM:

To conduct an in-depth exploration of the views and experience of participants of a primary-care-based horticultural and participatory arts rehabilitation project (Sydenham Garden).

DESIGN AND SETTING:

Qualitative interview study of a primary-care-based horticultural and participatory arts rehabilitation project in South London.

METHOD:

Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 16 participants (referred to as 'coworkers') of Sydenham Garden. Seven were female. Participants were aged between 38 and 91 years and had a range of severe mental and physical health problems; most had depression. The interviews were analysed using constant comparison and thematic analysis.

RESULTS:

Data were overwhelmingly positive concerning participation. Coworkers considered participation in the project to promote wellbeing by providing purposeful and enjoyable activity and interest, improving mood and self-perceptions, and providing an escape from life's pressures. Being outdoors was considered therapeutic. The most-valued aspect of participation was the social contact derived as a result of it. Many of the coworkers who were interviewed developed transferable skills, including nationally recognised qualifications, which they valued highly.

CONCLUSION:

Delivery of horticultural therapy and participatory arts is a feasible model for improving wellbeing in patients in primary care who have serious illness. Longer-term studies are needed to address what happens to people after leaving such projects.

PMID:
22520790
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3268492
Free PMC Article
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