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Social Farming Can Play Key Role In Mental Health Recovery, A New Report Has Found

Stock image: Pixabay

Social farming's focus remains on encouraging participants to socialise and build relationships.

Social farming can play key role in mental health recovery,  according to a report by Social Farming Ireland.

'The Value and Values of Social Farming' report, shows positive responses and outcomes for participants with mental health challenges.

Social Farming offers people who are socially, physically, mentally or intellectually disadvantaged the opportunity to spend time on a family farm in a healthy, supportive and inclusive environment.

A person may choose to spend a fixed amount of time on the farm participating in activities they may be interested in such as gardening, animal care or indoor activities such as baking bread or jam making.

Social farming activity takes place in a safe and supportive environment taking into account an individuals abilities, desires and interests. 

Focus remains on encouraging participants to socialise, gain confidence and build relationships, according to Social Farming Ireland.

The farm is not a specialised treatment farm; rather it remains a typical working farm where people in need of support can benefit from relationship building through farm activities in a nonclinical environment.

Speaking after the launch of the report in Naas, Mark Ward commented: “Social farming provides people who use mental health services with the opportunity for inclusion, to increase self-esteem, and to improve health and well-being by taking part in day-to-day farm activities on a family farm.

“The report outlines how 84% of people surveyed felt that participants have experienced improved mental health from their time spent on the farm.

“Listening and talking to participants at the event it was clear that social farming has a key role to play in recovery from mental ill health in a rural setting.

“Increased support from external, non-clinical psychosocial community supports not only benefits the participants and farmers, but could take the pressure off of more acute mental health services,” he said.

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