Growing Together: Nature Connectedness, Belonging and Social Identity in a Mental Health Ecotherapy Programme

Matthew Adams, Martin Jordan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapter


Matt Adams and Martin Jordan discuss their research carried out with an organization called Grow , located in Brighton in the United Kingdom. Grow works with people experiencing mental distress and provides mental health. support within a natural space. The project is unique in that it does not utilize horticultural therapy, but provides a safe, supportive group space in nature to aid recovery. The eight-week programme is evaluated in order to understand participants’ experience of Grow. Although nature is articulated as an important context for recovery from mental health problems, this is contrasted with indoor mental health environments which are felt by some to be set up in ways that reinforce their symptoms and identity. Other important factors are the level of peer support found on the programme. The report highlights how a natural environment, in a socially supportive context, offers an alternative to the familiar routines and hierarchies of client’s experiences of mental health services. In the right conditions, a natural environment supports the development of different and healthier identities, with the potential to aid recovery from psychological distress. Nature seems to play a role in this process, and this is explored in a discussion of the research.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEcotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice
EditorsM. Jordan, J. Hinds
Place of PublicationBasingstoke, UK
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages16
ISBN (Print)9781137486875
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2016


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