There are thousands of Students and Staff at the Uni, and every single one of them could develop or already be going through a mental or physical health issue. In fact, it is suggested around 1 in 4 students suffer from some form of mental health problem and the suicide figures are awfully upsetting.
I have been designing a Sensory Garden which could be placed on campus, to provide a quiet and relaxing space for students/staff to escape to and unwind when things get tough. There is an area of campus, that whilst not huge, would work well for this idea and could create a great sensory garden!
A Sensory Garden is a garden designed to stimulate many of the senses and create a relaxing environment for those using it. It could be adaptable to cater to so many needs and also offer the chance for an on campus gardening club which could be fully disabled accessible.
Here are just a few of many possible benefits to Students/Staff:
• It gives them a space to reflect, whether that be on home issues, university issues, or even just something entirely different.
• Provides them the opportunity to get involved with growing plants and introducing wildlife to the university that perhaps wouldn’t have been attracted otherwise. Gardening is proven to be a good tool for improving mental health.
• Provides a safe and relaxing environment for students to calm themselves when they may be overwhelmed in other parts of the campus. (The university can get overwhelmingly busy at times, especially for students on the Autistic Spectrum.)
• Shows students the bigger picture! And that people do care. Sometimes all that is needed is to be shown that people are there for you and want to help you. Having a whole garden built for this, proves someone cares!
• Gives students the chance to relax! Especially important during exam periods.
It could also help countless others outside of the university, and maybe even make a gateway for further research into dementia. It has been shown that sensory gardens can really help the treatment of dementia patients! Imagine how incredible this would be.
Not only this, but it helps improve the sustainability of our campus, and adds some more natural beauty. A little more green can't be too much of a bad thing!