Society helps depressed men with gardening project grant

A British Psychological Society Public Engagement grant and the North East London NHS Foundation Trust have helped to launch a gardening initiative aimed at assisting men in Barking and Dagenham who are at risk of depression and possible suicide.

The horticultural project - named Young at Heart - aims to improve mental and physical health among socially-isolated males by getting them involved in regular gardening sessions, as well as monthly meetings.

Progress on the scheme is to be followed by Radio 4's All in the Mind show with Claudia Hammond and the project is aiming to build on the history of allotment gardening in the local areas.

Chartered Clinical Psychologist Dr Victoria Winson, who is leading the initiative, said many men in Barking and Dagenham may suffer from mental health but will not have access to the formal or informal treatment they require.

She explained: "Allotments often have a strong sense of community and are places where people from a wide range of backgrounds come together and provide an ideal place to challenge social isolation."

The project was funded by the Society's 2010 Sharing Our Science: Psychology in Action public engagement grants.

The 2011 grants are now open with 40,000 pounds available to Society members - all applications will be considered but we are particularly keen to hear from sport and exercise psychology projects. For more information please visit our public engagement grants page.