26 Dec Horticulture, new activity at the Saint Benedict Menni
December has come with a new activity to the Saint Benedict Menni Mental Health Center: horticulture.
In the beginning of the month, a small group of volunteers from Aita Menni Hospital, leaded by managing director Mikel Tellaeche, spent some days at our facility. One of the task they did was to prepare a patch in the compound´s plot to seed veggies, with seeds brought from the Basque Country: zucchini, carrot, pumpkin, cucumber…
This tries to offer a new therapeutic and occupational activity to our patients which provides lots of benefits to their rehabilitation. Therapeutic horticulture is used in many countries with patients with mental illness, in Aita Menni Hospital amongst them. The hospital in Spain has a large plot with a veggie patch and offers its patients the chance to work woth a company that grows and sell organic veggies and aromatic plants, in a greenhouse near the hospital.
Psychologist Macarena Aspiunza, leader of this horticulture project and head of Intellectual Disability at Aita Menni Hospital, was one of the volunteers who came to Monrovia, and she numbered the benefits of this therapy:
- Benefits at a physical level: gardening and caring for the patch helps in the development of motor control skills and coordination of movements, and it´s a demanding physical activity. It helps in adopting a healthy diet and habits.
- Benefits in a social level: improves communication between the members of the group, as well and with other people.
- Benefits in an emotional level: anxiety and stress decreases, as well as troublesome behaviors. Self-esteem improves, the activity generates satisfaction and helps in the handling of frustration and anger. It helps improving responsible behaviors and improves creativity and curiosity.
Three weeks after the seeding, first shrubs are appearing. We hope to have a wonderful harvest!