Tag Archives: schizophrenia

Therapeutic farms use work in a natural environment to improve mental health.

Did you know that the State of Maryland was actually an innovator in this approach over a century ago?

In the 1970s I spent a summer working with older men at the Springfield State Hospital in Sykesville, MD. Long before Springfield was a mental institution, it was an estate and working farm, originally developed as the dowry for the daughter of a wealthy Baltimorean, William Patterson. His daughter was intended to marry Napoleon Bonaparte's brother, Jerome Bonaparte, although the marriage was later blocked by Napoleon.

In 1896, the State of Maryland transformed Springfield into a mental institution. Springfield was intended as an advance, using a more humane medical model for care instead of the prior practice of housing the "insane" in almshouses and poor farms ...continue reading

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Work and intensive contact with nature can help people recover from psychotic disorders, sometimes completely.

Maryland was an innovator in this approach over a century ago. The state abandoned this model, perhaps due to the public's fluctuating concern for the mentally ill and unwillingness to fund treatment programs. Eventually Maryland's mental institutions were better known for abuse and overcrowding.

Therapeutic farms are making a comeback. In the US, the Hopewell Community is having positive outcomes with its therapeutic farm community by using work and contact with nature as a means to improving social skills, emotional self-regulation, and consistent medication use. ...continue reading

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