By Kareem Ghannoum
A WA agriculturalist is hoping to help people struggling with mental health issues by teaching them how to garden.
Gardener Amar Deeley has invited the public onto her property to help those who are dealing with mental health issues during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I have taken it upon myself to offer volunteers dealing with depression or anxiety to work alongside me on my garden in order to help those suffering during this sorrowful time as I have seen many people being affected,” Ms Deeley says.
“It is important to me to have a purpose in helping others as I feel mental health issues are skyrocketing at the moment, and gardening is doing a really good job in helping with that.”
Murdoch University psychology lecturer Dr Matthew Thompson says that gardening is a great way for people to practice self-acceptance and that it can help with mental health issues.
“Gardening as a mental health treatment can help individuals make progress with challenging negative thoughts as well as keeping sane and happy with themselves,” Dr Thompson said.
Ms Deeley said the biggest challenge during the current pandemic is trying to find volunteers who are willing to move out of their comfort zones.
Since the shutdown, Ms Deeley says volunteers can do simples tasks if they are not physically fit, such as feeding and looking after the chickens.
“Since I have offered my services, I have helped a lot of people coping with stress and depression due to being stuck at home all the time,” Ms Deeley said.
“The gardening therapy itself, as well as the chickens being looked after, has been drastically beneficial with the volunteers, with nearly all that have come telling me it’s been a complete relief and comfort being this active at the garden.”
Despite the easing of restrictions recently announced by the WA Government, Ms Deeley says she will continue accepting volunteers into her gardening service.