Gardening Leave – one great answer to PTSD

Image courtesy Gardening Leave
It’s Christmas Eve, and no matter what your political views are, you have to admit: It’s awful for servicemen and women stuck overseas and separated from their families, especially during the holidays. That old WWII song “I’ll be home for Christmas” still carries a lot of weight. And unfortunately, the trauma doesn’t stop once people are discharged. Veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan are experiencing high rates of post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. In the U.S., our VA system is not at all well equipped to deal with the problem. Horticultural and animal-assisted therapy have both been found to be very helpful for people with PTSD, and in Scotland, one charity is addressing the issue in a very thoughtful and pragmatic way.

Gardening Leave oversees “horticultural therapy projects for ex-Servicemen and women growing fruit and vegetables in walled gardens which will provide a peaceful, unpressurised environment where veterans can participate as much or as little as they choose in the life cycle of the kitchen garden.”

Pretty cool, huh? Check out their website for more information, images, and videos: If anyone knows of something similar in the U.S. or elsewhere, please leave a comment and let me know!

Happy, peaceful, safe, and joyous holidays!