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Archive for May, 2007

Nigel Lee writes for healthmatters – ‘Blooming good health’

Nige describes how the Ecoworks project in Nottingham aims at being a truly user-centered service – in fact it grew out of a mental health advocacy project… They have successfully taken over six over-grown allotments, using principles of organic gardening and permaculture…

It is another example of a horticultural therapy project at work… and is a good example of how grass-roots/user-led projects can thrive…
The article covers several of the themes highlighted on this blog:

cost effective and demonstrable outcome – without this projects are unlikely to receive funding

Ecoworks is open to people with mental health problems, as well as just people who are interested in conservation. As a worker puts it ‘We have broken out of the stigmatised mental health ghetto’

The project enables mentalists to gain or claw back a sense of control – of the services they receive, over their mental health issues, and over their environment.. This provides a way of becoming an active participant in their community or in life…

An uplifting read!
http://www.healthmatters.org.uk/issue30/bloominggood

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So another break in the drought that is Spring 2007… It has been a very exciting night in the South West… we got soaked…

And the best thing is that we managed to remember to have our water butt lid off this time – an essential part of any water collection system – we didn’t last time …. woops!

The wet spell is predicted to continue for a few days, so perhaps we will be able to complete some other jobs on the plot that don’t involve power walking with a watering can..

I say predicted and not forecasted because I am of the opinion that weather forecaster people are more similar to psychics purporting to predict the future than ‘proper’ scientists. They have promised rain on several occassions recently – nothing…

But today is wet and the plants are happy….

I am quite keen on buying a soil tester which can measure the moisture content of soil… Thereby enabling me to know whether I have watered deeply enough – so that roots are encouraged to grow down into the soil… Then again perhaps I shouldn’t be encouraging my watering and rain obsession/pontifications… Besides sticking your finger down into the dirt is a way of analysing moisture and thats positive for mental health and for the bank balance…

Anyways in between manic watering last week we managed to get a few more plants sunk into the ground –

Spinach around and between the broadbeans. This will help prop up the broadbeans and the spinach will benefit from the shade.

Stock and sunflowers – the ornamental beds are gonna get crammed with plants…

Marigolds – dotted around in clumps – a stalwart of the companion planting approach.

Everything we have planted so far is doing ok – although sometimes it feels like we have been keeping things alive (did I mention there’s been not much rain about!) rather than nurturing them to flourish…

Watering takes up so much time… so I am off to a local church plant sale soon to pick up some bargains to fill in some gaps hopefully. We have quite a few gaps on our massive plot (114ftx18ft6) – and the expanse of brown is starting to jar me – we need more plants!!!!

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Ta to Philip Dawdy at Furious Seasons blog for the heads up on this article by Bruce Stutz in ‘The New York Times’, entitled ‘Self-Nonmedication’. He describes his experience of depression and psychotherapy, and his use of antidepressants, specifically Effexor. Bruce describes why he started to take antidepressants and asks the question are users hooked for life…

Whilst Bruce chronicles the devastating withdrawal effects he experienced, his is an uplifting story as he explains to readers how he coped and that the brain is a flexible beast which is very good at coping with change…

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