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Government Gazette

'Horticulture therapy, effective treatment for people of all ages'

The horticulture therapy project of the Mulleriyawa National Mental Hospital which began with the aim of helping long-term patients to be reintegrated into society and improve their quality of life has been successful, Mulleriyawa Mental Hospital director consultant Dr Jayan Mendis said.

Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena inspected the project at the Mulleriyawa Mental Hospital. Royal College, Colombo students had also supported the project.

Minister Sirisena directed Dr Mendis to take action to introduce this therapy system to other hospitals too. "About 500 patients are receiving treatment through this horticulture therapy project. In many countries, this therapy has been in practice and has helped patients," a ministry spokesman said. Through this project, 520 patients are receiving treatment and spend their time tending the gardens throughout the day. Patients whose nominees have abandoned them and homeless patients who have been cured completely, are still at the hospital and engaged in horticulture. In addition, sales outlets have enabled patients to sell horticulture products to the market.

Hospital staff will be trained to start new Horticulture Therapy Units at their institutes. Currently, there are other organizations carrying out horticulture sub-projects islandwide. Horticultural Therapy (HT) is identified as the engagement of a person in gardening activities, facilitated by a trained therapist, to achieve specific therapeutic treatment goals. Doctors believe that horticultural therapy is an active process which occurs in the context of an established treatment plan.

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