The New Leaf Gardeners:

US (NJ): Horticulture supporting mental illness

The New Leaf Gardeners Horticultural Vocational program at Trenton Psychiatric Hospital in Ewing Township supports recovery from mental illness, improves outlook and life satisfaction, helps clients to cope with and recover from stress, improves concentration and sense of accomplishment. Evidenced-based research demonstrates that simply viewing plants has been shown to reduce fear, anger, blood pressure and muscle tension.

The New Leaf Gardener Program (NLG) is one of several therapeutic and vocational training opportunities available to clients at Trenton Psychiatric Hospital. This specific program began in 2011, but the tradition of gardening at the hospital goes back before World War I and even the Civil War.

Today, patients and staff working with the horticultural vocational program can benefit from the Serenity Garden, where they can relax, reflect and enjoy the beauty of nature. In 2011, the Serenity Garden received the Community Greening Award from the Pennsylvania Horticulture Society. The Community Greening Award recognizes the horticulture efforts of individuals, groups, garden clubs and businesses that are dedicated to improving the quality of life through the beautification of public green spaces.

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