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Green shoots of recovery : the impact of a mental health ecotherapy programme

Wilson, Neil and Fleming, Susan and Jones, Russell and Lafferty, Kevin and Catherine, Kirsty and Seaman, Pete and Knifton, Lee (2010) Green shoots of recovery : the impact of a mental health ecotherapy programme. Mental Health Review, 15 (2). pp. 4-14. ISSN 1361-9322

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Abstract

Branching Out is a 12-week ecotherapy programme for clients who use mental health services within the Greater Glasgow and Clyde area. Over the course of a year 110 clients attended the programme, of whom 77 (70%) completed the course. In order to ascertain the outcomes of the programme and the elements that appeared to facilitate change, semi-structured interviews with clients (n=28) and two focus groups with clinicians (n=5 and n=3) from the referring services were conducted.The data gathered therein was analysed using interpretive phenomenological analysis (IPA). From the results, five themes emerged as client outcomes. These were: improvements to mental well-being, improvements to physical health, provision of daily structure and routine, transferable knowledge and skill acquisition, and increased social networking and social skills development. Three themes pertaining to the service logistics (team building and social inclusion, contrast of environments and work and recognition) emerged as potential explanations for the client outcomes. There was a perception among clients and clinicians that Branching Out represented a ‘stepping stone to further community engagement’. The results reflect a recovery-oriented approach to health care. The limitations of the evaluation and implications for the future are discussed.