Malta’s first ecotherapy project calls for support on World Mental Health Day

October 10, 2019 9:23 am

This World Mental Health Day, Malta’s first ecotherapy project – Blooming Minds – has launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise funds to support the continuation and growth of their programme to help more people improve their mental well-being.

The collaborative project, designed and run by BirdLife Malta and the Richmond Foundation, creates opportunities in nature through a programme of inclusive activities including nature arts and crafts, gardening and conservation work that help to improve mental health and inspire an appreciation for the environment. 

Launched in January 2019 thanks to a grant of €17,000 from the Malta Social Impact Awards, the project has already began running a series of ecotherapy sessions for Richmond Foundation service users at BirdLife Malta’s nature reserves and in the community gardens where the participants reside such as Villa Chelsea – a residential property run by the Richmond Foundation.

Initial results that evaluated how participants were feeling before and after sessions shows a decrease in anxiety by 38%, an increase of 24% in comfort and 15% in happiness, with these set to improve further following regular engagement with the programme, demonstrating a promising future for the project’s long-term impact.

Blooming Minds ecotherapy session at Simar Nature Reserve (Photo by Kristina Govorukha)

With project funding set to end in December 2019, Blooming Minds is seeking €5,000 in financial support to enable its continuation and development so more people with mental health problems in Malta can benefit from ecotherapy.

Blooming Minds supports people living with mental health conditions in Malta through outdoor sessions in nature

Horticulture session at Villa Chelsea (Photo by Kristina Govorukha)

Project Manager Sarah Brady from BirdLife Malta, stated: “Spending time in nature has a powerful impact on health and well-being. We have experienced first-hand participants feeling happier and less stressed in just a few hours in a nature reserve. Imagine how we could change people’s lives if we expand the programme and increase the regularity of their contact with the outdoors.”

Richmond Foundation Manager Tracey Calleja added: “Our clients have thoroughly enjoyed the ecotherapy sessions they have attended so far. They were relaxing and a really efficient way for them to get in touch with nature and wind down at the same time. It is clear that they were impacted by the environment in a positive way, and they eagerly look forward to the next visiting.”

As part of the fundraising campaign being launched today, BirdLife Malta and the Richmond Foundation will also be organising a Walk for Well-being which will be held on Sunday 17th November. The event will include guided ecotherapy practices and it will raise more funds for the programme. More details will be announced later.

If you wish to contribute to our crowdfunding campaign and help us create more opportunities for people with mental health conditions please donate here.

Read the Maltese version of the press release here. Click below to watch a video about our work at Blooming Minds.